King Lear


Act 5

Act V, scene i

In the British army’s camp, Regan questions Edmund about his relationship with Goneril, asking if he has slept with her. He is offended by the question. Regan begs Edmund not to become involved with her sister, and he agrees. Goneril and Albany enter and talk about the necessity of defending Britain against the French invasion. In two asides to the audience, Goneril expresses her jealousy of Regan and her intention that Regan shall not come between herself and Edmund. The sisters and Edmund exit. Edgar, still in the beggar’s costume, delivers the letter that Goneril had written to Edmund into Albany’s hands. Albany promises to read it later. Edmund returns and calls Albany to prepare for battle. In a soliloquy, Edmund wonders which of the two sisters he should choose to marry, and also plots to prevent Albany from granting Lear and Cordelia a pardon after the battle.

Summary: Act V, scene ii

The battle is taking place. In a field nearby, Edgar hides Gloucester in the shadow of a bush to keep him safe. Soon, Edgar reports that the French have been defeated and that King Lear and Cordelia have been captured by the British.

Summary: Act V, scene iii

At the victorious British camp, Edmund issues orders for Lear and Cordelia to be taken to prison. In a touching speech, Lear promises that he and Cordelia will be happy in prison because they will be together, and he encourages his daughter to dry her tears. Albany enters and wants to have Cordelia and Lear turned over to him so that he can make sure that they are treated well. Edmund insists that they should remain in prison, and Regan says that Edmund should be respected because he will soon be her husband. Albany declares that he knows Goneril and Edmund to be traitors, and orders them arrested. He then sends out a message asking if anyone else will come forth with proof of Edmund’s treachery and says that if no one appears, he will duel Edmund himself.

Regan suddenly begins to feel...

Sign up to continue reading Act 5 >

Essays About King Lear