WORD LISTS

"King Lear," Vocabulary from Act 1

February 6, 2013
This Shakespearean tragedy deals with a man who believes he has lost everything who finds out you can always lose a little more (etext found here).

Learn this word list that focuses on Lear's personality, actions, and state. Here are links to all of our lists for “King Lear”: Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, Act 4, and Act 5.
constant
As king, Lear can proclaim that his will is constant, but once he steps down, this constancy will be constantly tested.
We have this hour a constant will to publish
opulent
The adjectives "more" (in example sentence) and "superior" (in definition) emphasize the public competition Lear is creating among his daughters.
What can you say to draw
A third more opulent than your sisters?
propinquity
Note how "propinquity" and "property" are included in the same breath as "paternal care".
Here I disclaim all my paternal care,
Propinquity and property of blood,
And as a stranger to my heart and me
Hold thee from this forever.
wrath
Come not between the dragon and his wrath.
folly
To plainness honor's bound
When majesty falls to folly.
dominion
If on the tenth day following
Thy banish'd trunk be found in our dominions,
The moment is thy death.
infirmity
'Tis the infirmity of his age: yet he hath ever
but slenderly known himself.
beseech
Note the missing "I" before "beseech", which makes Lear's use of the word seem more like a command than a request.
Therefore beseech you
T'avert your liking a more worthier way
benison
Therefore begone
Without our grace, our love, our benison.
rash
Although "rash" here doesn't mean the red eruption of the skin, picturing Lear with a physical rash could help you remember the rashness of his nature.
The best and soundest of his time hath been but
rash.
unruly
The prefix "un" here emphasizes what is happening to Lear's rule as well as his nature.
then must we look to receive from his age,
not alone the imperfections of long-engraffed
condition, but therewithal the unruly waywardness
that infirm and choleric years bring with them.
choleric
then must we look to receive from his age,
not alone the imperfections of long-engraffed
condition, but therewithal the unruly waywardness
that infirm and choleric years bring with them.
discord
Possible pun alert: "discord" could refer to Lear breaking his bond with Cordelia--a move that leads to a lot of the discord in the play.
love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide: in
cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in
palaces, treason; and the bond cracked 'twixt son
and father.
malediction
Although the example sentence was from Edmund repeating a general prediction of the state of the world, it can be seen as an overview of all the conflicts in the play. The word "malediction" is buried in the sentence but it is a good word to know because in this act, Lear both withholds a benison from Cordelia and gives a malediction to Goneril. Note the difference in Lear's power in the scenes.
as of unnaturalness between the child
and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of
ancient amities; divisions in state, menaces and
maledictions against king and nobles; needless
diffidences, banishment of friends, dissipation
of cohorts, nuptial breaches, and I know not what.
dissipation
Another definition of "dissipation" is "dissolute indulgence in sexual pleasure"--this could also fit because it could lead to "nuptial breaches" but the rest of the sentence lists other examples of breaking up and scattering.
as of unnaturalness between the child
and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of
ancient amities; divisions in state, menaces and
maledictions against king and nobles; needless
diffidences, banishment of friends, dissipation
of cohorts, nuptial breaches, and I know not what.
breach
as of unnaturalness between the child
and the parent; death, dearth, dissolutions of
ancient amities; divisions in state, menaces and
maledictions against king and nobles; needless
diffidences, banishment of friends, dissipation
of cohorts, nuptial breaches, and I know not what.
upbraid
His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids us
on every trifle.
ceremonious
My lord, I know not what the matter is; but, to my
judgment, your highness is not entertained with that
ceremonious affection as you were wont;
wont
In the example sentence, "wont" is used as an adjective to refer to how Lear is used to being treated. Don't stick an apostrophe in the word because then it becomes a matter of what Lear will or won't do.
My lord, I know not what the matter is; but, to my
judgment, your highness is not entertained with that
ceremonious affection as you were wont;
abatement
there's a great abatement of kindness appears as well in the
general dependants as in the duke himself also and
your daughter.
bandy
A look is not a physical blow, but because Lear is not used to receiving insulting looks, he feels as if he had been hit. So Lear hits Oswald in return, but as a servant, Oswald can't actually bandy with Lear.
Do you bandy looks with me, you rascal?
gall
A pestilent gall to me!
kin
How kind can the kin of a king be?
I marvel what kin thou and thy daughters are:
sovereignty
I would learn that, for, by the
marks of sovereignty, knowledge, and reason, I should be false persuaded
I had daughters.
dotage
He may enguard his dotage with their powers,

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Comments from our users:

Thursday February 14th 2013, 11:16 PM
Comment by: narayana K.
no comment
Friday February 15th 2013, 6:10 PM
Comment by: celina B.
hi,
could you please send this list to me. i really need it.
Thursday February 21st 2013, 2:06 AM
Comment by: abhishek N.
nice one
Saturday February 23rd 2013, 2:21 PM
Comment by: kk (Pakistan)
can i learn english??? :(

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