WORD LISTS

"King Lear" by William Shakespeare, Act 1

February 6, 2013
In this tragedy, King Lear's plan to divide his kingdom between his three daughters leads to his downfall when he misjudges their true feelings. Read the full text here.

Here are links to our lists for the play: Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, Act 4, Act 5
moiety
It did always seem so to us, but now in the division of the kingdom, it appears not which of the dukes he values most, for equalities are so weighed that curiosity in neither can make choice of either’s moiety.
constant
As king, Lear can proclaim that his will is constant, but once he steps down, this constancy will be constantly tested.
Our son of Cornwall
And you, our no less loving son of Albany,
We have this hour a constant will to publish
Our daughters’ several dowers, that future strife
May be prevented now.
divest
Tell me, my daughters—
Since now we will divest us both of rule,
Interest of territory, cares of state—
Which of you shall we say doth love us most,
That we our largest bounty may extend
Where nature doth with merit challenge.
mettle
I am made of that self mettle as my sister
And prize me at her worth.
opulent
The adjectives more (in example sentence) and superior (in definition) emphasize the public competition Lear is creating among his daughters.
Now, our joy,
Although our last and least, to whose young love
The vines of France and milk of Burgundy
Strive to be interessed, what can you say to draw
A third more opulent than your sisters’?
beget
Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, loved me.
I return those duties back as are right fit:
Obey you, love you, and most honor you.
propinquity
Note how propinquity and property are included in the same breath as paternal care. Propinquity also means "close kinship."
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.
liege
KENT: Good my liege
LEAR: Peace, Kent.
preeminence
I do invest you jointly with my power,
Preeminence, and all the large effects
That troop with majesty.
folly
To plainness honor's bound
When majesty falls to folly.
dominion
If on the tenth day following
Thy banished trunk be found in our dominions,
The moment is thy death.
beseech
Note the missing I before beseech, which makes Lear's use of the word seem more like a command than a request.
For you, great king,
I would not from your love make such a stray
To match you where I hate. Therefore beseech you
T’ avert your liking a more worthier way
Than on a wretch whom Nature is ashamed
Almost t’ acknowledge hers.
glib
I yet beseech your Majesty—
If for I want that glib and oily art
To speak and purpose not, since what I well intend
I’ll do ’t before I speak—that you make known
It is no vicious blot, murder, or foulness,
No unchaste action or dishonored step
That hath deprived me of your grace and favor
benison
Therefore begone
Without our grace, our love, our benison.
appertain
Sister, it is not little I have to say of what most nearly appertains to us both.
infirmity
'Tis the infirmity of his age. Yet he hath ever but slenderly known himself.
choleric
The best and soundest of his time hath been but rash. Then must we look from his age to receive not alone the imperfections of long-engraffed condition, but therewithal the unruly waywardness that infirm and choleric years bring with them.
casement
It was not brought me, my lord; there’s the cunning of it. I found it thrown in at the casement of my closet.
auricular
If your Honor judge it meet, I will place you where you shall hear us confer of this, and by an auricular assurance have your satisfaction, and that without any further delay than this very evening.
portend
These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us.
discord
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.
machination
Machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all ruinous disorders follow us disquietly to our graves.
surfeit
This is the excellent foppery of the world, that when we are sick in fortune (often the surfeits of our own behavior) we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and stars, as if we were villains on necessity...
dearth
I promise you, the effects he writes of succeed unhappily, 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.
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. 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.
I promise you, the effects he writes of succeed unhappily, 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.
diffidence
I promise you, the effects he writes of succeed unhappily, 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
I promise you, the effects he writes of succeed unhappily, 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.
cohort
I promise you, the effects he writes of succeed unhappily, 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
I promise you, the effects he writes of succeed unhappily, 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.
allay
Bethink yourself wherein you may have offended him, and at my entreaty forbear his presence until some little time hath qualified the heat of his displeasure, which at this instant so rageth in him that with the mischief of your person it would scarcely allay.
upbraid
His knights grow riotous, and himself upbraids us
On every trifle.
dote
LEAR: How old art thou?
KENT: Not so young, sir, to love a woman for singing, nor so old to dote on her for anything. I have years on my back forty-eight.
abatement
There’s a great abatement of kindness appears as well in the general dependents 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?
tarry
Away, away. If you will measure your lubber’s length again, tarry.
gall
A pestilent gall to me!
pare
Thou hast pared thy wit o’ both sides and left nothing i’ th’ middle.
forsooth
Yes, forsooth, I will hold my tongue.
retinue
Not only, sir, this your all-licensed Fool,
But other of your insolent retinue
Do hourly carp and quarrel, breaking forth
In rank and not-to-be-endurèd riots.
carp
Not only, sir, this your all-licensed Fool,
But other of your insolent retinue
Do hourly carp and quarrel, breaking forth
In rank and not-to-be-endurèd riots.
redress
Sir,
I had thought by making this well known unto you
To have found a safe redress, but now grow fearful,
By what yourself too late have spoke and done,
That you protect this course and put it on
By your allowance; which if you should, the fault
Would not ’scape censure, nor the redresses sleep
Which in the tender of a wholesome weal
Might in their working do you that offense,
Which else were shame, that then necessity
Will call discreet proceeding.
weal
Sir,
I had thought by making this well known unto you
To have found a safe redress, but now grow fearful,
By what yourself too late have spoke and done,
That you protect this course and put it on
By your allowance; which if you should, the fault
Would not ’scape censure, nor the redresses sleep
Which in the tender of a wholesome weal
Might in their working do you that offense,
Which else were shame, that then necessity
Will call discreet proceeding.
rabble
You strike my people, and your disordered rabble
Make servants of their betters.
perforce
That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus,
That these hot tears, which break from me perforce,
Should make thee worth them.
dotage
Each buzz, each fancy, each complaint, dislike,
He may enguard his dotage with their powers
And hold our lives in mercy.

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