Book Notes Act 3, Scene 7 Notes from King Lear

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King Lear Act 3, Scene 7

Cornwall orders a wide search for "the traitor Gloucester" (line 3).

Regan says to hang him. Goneril says: "Pluck out his eyes" (line 5). This latter piece of advice is what Cornwall will follow.

Gloucester is brought in. Regan and Cornwall are determined to find out everything before punishing him. They can't believe that Gloucester has sent the king off to Dover. Why Dover? In a sad and rather prescient moment, Gloucester says, "Because I would not see thy cruel nails/ Pluck out his poor old eyes" (lines 56-57). Cornwall responds:

"See 't shall thou never. Fellows, hold the chair.
Upon these eyes of thine I'll set my foot."
Act 3, Scene 7, lines 66-67

With that, Cornwall physically plucks out one of Gloucester's eyes. A servant tries to stop Cornwall. Cornwall starts a duel with the servant, but Regan rises and stabs the servant with a sword. Cornwall then finishes the task and pokes out Gloucester's other eye.

Topic Tracking: Vision 7

Gloucester, now blinded, begs for his son Edmund and receives an even worse punishment when he finds out from Regan that it was Edmund who betrayed him in the first place.

Now, Gloucester recognizes that he has been blind for years, the fact which led him to throw Edgar out.

Regan orders a servant to throw the ravaged Gloucester out "and let him smell/His way to Dover" (lines 92-93). She then discovers that Cornwall has been hurt in his duel with the servant, and she takes him off stage.

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