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King Lear Act 3, Scene 1 Summary
Kent, still disguised as Caius, meets secretly with a nameless gentleman who informs him that the King is running about in a night so dreadful that even lions and bears have taken to their dens. The gentleman says that only the Fool accompanies the King on his mad journey, trying to stave off Lear's madness with friendly jokes. Kent then gives the gentleman a political update: tension between Regan's husband (Cornwall) and Goneril's husband (Albany) may result in a civil war, though they're keeping it hush-hush. Aside from possibly having a war, both Albany and Cornwall may be united in one activity: plotting against the life of Lear, their father-in-law. This has all been discovered by spies placed strategically in their houses as servants, and France (which has likely sent the spies) is even now preparing to make a move against these divided houses. Kent asks the gentleman to be a messenger for him. He instructs the man to go to Dover (where Cordelia is) and report of Lear's recent ill-treatment. Kent then reveals he's actually a gentleman himself, meaning that he's of noble breeding, and not just a random guy. But he doesn't go so far as to reveal that he's Kent. He then gives the gentleman-messenger the contents of his entire purse so the messenger will be inspired to actually do the job at hand. Furthermore, Kent instructs the man to deliver to Cordelia, whom he shall no doubt see, a ring. On seeing this ring, Cordelia will understand who sent the message (Kent). Kent goes to find Lear and the Fool, who are confronting the elements alone.
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