King Lear


William Shakespeare

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King Lear: Act 3, scene 3 Summary & Analysis

Read our modern English translation of this scene.
Back inside, Gloucester confides in Edmund that he does not like the "unnatural dealing" (3.3.2) that Goneril and Regan have shown to their father. Edmund agrees. Gloucester then tells Edmund that there is division between Albany and Cornwall and that he has received a letter with further information, too dangerous to be spoken, which will eventually bring Lear revenge. Gloucester asks Edmund to distract Cornwall while he sneaks off to aid Lear.
Blind to the potential risk (and Edmund's machinations), Gloucester trusts completely in the wrong son, highlighting the parallels between his and Lear's situations. Gloucester anticipates that Cordelia and her French army will destroy Goneril and Regan and return justice and order.
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Literary Devices
Once Gloucester has exited, Edmund informs the audience that he will immediately report everything that his father has told him to Cornwall, in the hopes that he himself will gain what his father loses: "the younger rises when the old doth fall" (3.3.25).
But Edmund reveals that his father's trust in him is totally misguided, and in doing so suggests that the justice and order that Gloucester thinks Corelia is going to bring back may not really exist at all.
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