Act II. Scene I. - A Court within the Castle
of the Earl of Gloucester.
We learn of possible conflict between evil sisters
Regan and Goneril. Edmund further manipulates Edgar.
Gloucester learns from Edmund of Edgar's plan to
kill him and believes it...
Edmund speaks with Curan, a Courtier. He learns from
Curan that in time there may be possible conflict between
the Dukes of Albany and Cornwall. Edgar enters and Edmund
advises Edgar to leave, saying "My father watches: O
sir! fly this place; [our father watches this place,
get out of here, fly!]" (Line 22).
Edmund asks whether Edgar has spoken with either the
Duke of Cornwall or The Duke of Albany learning Edgar
has not. Seeing his father approach, Edmund tells Edgar
to "seem to defend yourself;" (look like your defending
yourself) and then tells Edgar to flee (Line 32). Edmund
now draws his own blood with his sword to appear wounded
Gloucester arrives, wondering who the villain was.
Edmund explains it was Edgar who was trying to "Persuade
me to the murder of your lordship;" (convince or persuade
me to kill you), (Line 46). Enraged, Gloucester wants
his traitorous son found (Lines 44-63). Edmund stokes
the fire by suggesting that not only did Edgar want
to kill his father, but that if he were exposed, he
would explain his intent away as lies (Lines 66-79).
Gloucester now wants all ports barred from his traitorous
son: "All ports I'll bar; the villain shall not 'scape;"
(all ports I'll bar, the villain, my son will not
escape), (Line 82). Regan and Cornwall arrive and upon
learning of Edgar's "loyalty", embrace (take) him as
one of their own, Gloucester thanking Cornwall (Lines
87-130). Regan seeks Gloucester's advise in dealing
with the now wayward and difficult Lear who has caused
problems for her sister Goneril. Gloucester agrees to
do what he can...
Act II. Scene II. - Before Gloucester's Castle.
Kent and Oswald fight. Kent is placed in stocks
emphasizing just how little Lear's name is now
respected by daughters Regan and Goneril...
Kent and Oswald are speaking. It is clear that Kent
has little respect for Oswald, a man who had earlier
disrespected his King. Kent describes Oswald as "A knave,
a rascal, an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow,
beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worst-stocking
knave;" (Lines 14-26).
Disgusted with what Oswald is, Kent challenges him
to fight, shouting "Draw, you rascal; you come with
letters against the king," (draw you rascal, you come
with written letters against King Lear), (Line 39).
Edmund arrives parting the two. Cornwall, Regan and
Gloucester arrive and the net result is that despite
Kent's pleas for justice, Cornwall orders that Kent
be placed in stocks (large wooden medieval devise that
clamps a person down by the feet used for punishment).
Gloucester pleads that this not be done to no avail
(success). He warns that Lear will not be happy to see
his servant so punished. We learn from Kent that Cordelia
is being kept abreast (aware) of current developments
in England (Line 173).
Act II. Scene III. - A Part of the Heath.
Edgar now alone and disguised, describes his fate of
living in hiding.
Act II. Scene IV. - Before Gloucester's Castle.
Kent in the stocks.
King Lear: "this heart / Shall break into a hundred
thousand flaws / Or ere I'll weep."
Showing complete disregard for King Lear's
authority, Kent remains in stocks. Lear tells Regan
how much Goneril has hurt him. Regan in consultation
with Goneril allows Lear to stay but without a single
follower. Lear decides not to stay with either daughter...
Arriving at Gloucester's castle, Lear is surprised
that his messenger has not arrived (Kent) and that both
Regan and Goneril have departed. Kent calls out to Lear,
the Fool explaining that Kent "wears cruel garters"
(wears cruel, heavy garters, a reference to Kent being
in stocks), (Line 6).
The Fool then goes on to explain several different
punishments. Kent explains what happened and now an
enraged Lear demands to see Regan. Gloucester warns
of the temper of the Duke, but Lear is not dissuaded
(talked out of his fury).
Cornwall and Regan arrive. Kent is now set free. Lear
makes clear his feelings about Goneril's actions, describing
her as "Sharp-tooth'd unkindness, like a vulture," (sharp-toothed
unkindness, like that of a vulture), (Line 137). Regan
explains that she cannot forget her duties.
Regan tells Lear to ask for Goneril's forgiveness.
This enrages Lear. He places a curse on Goneril, and
in mock beggary, explains that he cannot seek the forgiveness
of one who took away half his train. Trusting Regan,
he says that "thou shalt never have my curse:" (you
will never be cursed by me), (Line 173). Lear now asks
who placed his servant in stocks.
Goneril arrives before Lear is answered and Regan
sides with her sister. Regan suggests that Lear return
to Goneril since she needs time to prepare for him and
to return to Regan with half his train.
Lear explains that he would rather be in open country
or worse, beg at King France's throne (Lines 210-220).
Lear asks her to reconsider, "I prithee, daughter, do
not make me mad:" (I ask you daughter, do not make me
mad), (Line 221).
Lear decides he will stay with Regan with his one
hundred knights. Regan replies "Not altogether so: /
I look'd not for you yet, nor am I provided / For your
fit welcome" (not with all your knights yet; I was not
expecting you yet, nor am I ready to welcome and host
you properly), (Line 234).
Following a conversation with Goneril and Regan, Lear
is allowed not one follower (Lines 239-268). Lear now
despairs, asking the gods for patience towards "a poor
old man," such as himself (Line 275).
Lear exclaims that he will not weep, "You think I'll
weep; / No, I'll not weep: / I have full cause of weeping,
but this heart / Shall break into a hundred thousand
flaws / Or ere I'll weep. O fool! I shall go mad" (you
think I'll weep; no I'll not weep. Though
I have full cause or every reason to weep, this heart
of mine will break into a hundred thousand pieces or
flaws before you'll see me weep. O what a fool
I was, I will go mad!), (Line 285).
Gloucester arrives informing the two daughters that
Lear has nowhere to sleep. The daughters try to convince
themselves that this is Lear's own fault.