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King Lear

King Lear Translation Act 1, Scene 3

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Enter GONERIL and her steward OSWALD

GONERIL

Did my father strike my gentlemanFor chiding of his fool?

GONERIL

Did my father strike one of my servants for scolding his fool?

OSWALD

Ay, madam.

OSWALD

Yes, madam.

GONERIL

By day and night he wrongs me. Every hour He flashes into one gross crime or other That sets us all at odds. I’ll not endure it. His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids us On every trifle. When he returns from hunting, I will not speak with him. Say I am sick. If you come slack of former services, You shall do well. The fault of it I’ll answer.

GONERIL

He offends me constantly, day and night. Every hour he has an outburst, causing some new offense that makes everyone start fighting. I won't endure it anymore. His knights are getting unruly, and he himself criticizes us about every little thing. When he returns from hunting, I won't speak to him. Say that I'm sick. And if you do less than you used to do to serve the king, you'll be doing the right thing. I'll take the blame for it.

OSWALD

He’s coming, madam. I hear him.

OSWALD

He's coming, madam. I hear him.

Hunting horns within

GONERIL

Put on what weary negligence you please, You and your fellow servants. I’ll have it come to question. If he distaste it, let him to our sister, Whose mind and mine I know in that are one, Not to be overruled. Idle old man That still would manage those authorities That he hath given away! Now by my life, Old fools are babes again and must be used With checks as flatteries, when they are seen abused. Remember what I have said.

GONERIL

Now be as tired and neglectful as you desire, you and your fellow servants. I want to confront him about it. If he dislikes it, let him go to my sister. I know that she and I are of the same mind about this matter, and both of us will stand up to him. That foolish old man, who thinks he can still wield the power he's given away! I swear by my life, old fools become like babies again, and you have to discipline them instead of flatter them—especially when they're clearly misguided. Remember what I've said.

OSWALD

Very well, madam.

OSWALD

Very well, madam.

GONERIL

And let his knights have colder looks among you. What grows of it, no matter. Advise your fellows so. I would breed from hence occasions, and I shall, That I may speak. I’ll write straight to my sister To hold my very course. Go, prepare for dinner.

GONERIL

And be unfriendly to his knights as well. Don't worry about what might happen. Tell your fellow servants about this. I want confrontations to come from this, so I can scold my father. I'll write to my sister right away and tell her to do exactly as I do. Now go, prepare for dinner.

Exeunt severally

King lear
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Matt cosby
About the Translator: Matt Cosby
Matt Cosby graduated from Amherst College in 2011, and currently works as a writer and editor for LitCharts. He is from Florida but now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he also makes art, plays the piano, and goes to dog parks.