You are here:
Act 1 Scene 1
Enter Lear, Cornwall, Albany, Goneril, Regan, Cordelia and Attendants.
The royal procession - Lear's final public appearance before he divides his kingdom.
Photo by Manuel Harlan © RSC
France Thy dowerless daughter, King, thrown to my chance, is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France.
France (Ben Addis) proposes to Cordelia (Romola Garai) after her father has disowned her for not taking part in his test.
Act 1 Scene 2
Edmund It is his hand, my lord; but I hope his heart is not in the contents.
Edmund (Philip Winchester) sets the trap to trick his father Gloucester (William Gaunt) into believing Edgar (Gloucester's legitimate son) is plotting against him.
Act 1 Scene 4
Fool How now, nuncle! Would I had two coxcombs and two daughters!
The Fool (Sylvester McCoy) proves he is the only one who can challenge Lear (Ian McKellen).
Act 2 Scene 3
Gloucester Weapons? Arms? What's the matter here?
Edmund (Philip Winchester) wades into a sword fight between Oswald and Kent. Kent has attacked Oswald because he comes 'with letters against the king'.
Act 2 Scene 4
Lear What's he that hath so much thy place mistook to set thee here?
Kent (Jonathan Hyde) explains how Regan and Cornwall had come to set him in the stocks. Lear (Ian McKellen) refuses to believe him.
Act 3 Scene 4
Edgar Take heed o' the foul fiend...
Edgar (Ben Meyjes) disguised as Poor Tom gives Lear (Ian McKellen) a warning.
Act 3 Scene 7
Regan Out, treacherous villain! Thou call'st on him that hates thee.
After her husband has blinded Gloucester (William Gaunt), Regan (Monica Dolan) reveals to him that it was his son Edmund who gave them the secret letter and betrayed his father.
Act 4 Scene 6
Edgar Bear free and patient thoughts.
Edgar (Tom Meyjes) disguised as Poor Tom has led his father (William Gaunt) to Dover and tricked him into believing he's miraculously survived a suicide attempt when he plunged over the cliffs. Now Gloucester is convinced he must endure his life.
Lear If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes. I know thee well enough; thy name is Gloucester.
In his madness, Lear (Ian McKellen) reaches lucidity. His conversation with Gloucester (William Gaunt) reveals a new awareness of the world.
Act 4 Scene 7
Cordelia Restoration hang / Thy medicine on my lips; and let this kiss / Repair those violent harms that my two sisters / Have in thy reverence made!
Cordelia (Romola Garai), having rescued Lear (Ian McKellen) and brought him to the French camp, tries to wake him with a kiss.
Act 5 Scene 2
Edgar Men must endure / Their going hence even as their coming hither; / Ripeness is all.
On learning that Lear and Cordelia have lost the battle, Gloucester (William Gaunt) sinks back into suicidal thoughts and Edgar (Ben Meyjes) tries to shake him out of them.
Act 5 Scene 3
Goneril The laws are mine, not thine. Who can arraign me for't?
With her lover Edmund (Philip Winchester) fatally wounded and her husband Albany in possession of a letter which proves she was plotting to murder him, Goneril (Frances Barber) challenges the world to bring her to account.
Lear This is a dull sight… No, no, no life! Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life, And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more; Never, never, never, never, never.
Lear (Ian McKellen) laments Cordelia's (Romola Garai) death and questions the meaning of life when seemingly meaningless lives are allowed to continue when his beloved daughter is now dead.
0844 800 1110
Sign up to email updates for the latest RSC news:
Already an RSC Member or Supporter? Sign in here.
The RSC is a registered charity ( no 212481 )
© 2015 Royal Shakespeare Company