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King Lear Justice Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.

Quote #4

I have received a hurt. Follow me, lady.—
Turn out that eyeless villain. Throw this slave
Upon the dunghill.—Regan, I bleed apace.
Untimely comes this hurt. (3.7.116-119)

Contrary to what he says, Cornwall's wound is very "timely"; the servant has served up justice for Gloucester's eyes.

Quote #5

As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods;
They kill us for their sport. (4.1.41-42)

This is one of the most famous lines in the play. For Gloucester, the gods are not only indifferent to human suffering but they're excessively cruel, causing human misery just as easily and thoughtlessly as "wanton boys" might swat at "flies."

Quote #6

My name is Edgar, and thy father's son.
The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to plague us.
The dark and vicious place where thee he got
Cost him his eyes. (5.3.203-207)

After Edgar mortally wounds his wicked brother, Edmund, he says "the gods are just" because they punish humans for their wrong doings. This seems to suggest that Edmund deserved what he got (a stab to the guts). Edgar also implies his father, Gloucester, got what he deserved for having an affair with Edmunds mother. Remember, Gloucester's eyes were plucked out after he was accused of treason, and he fathered a wicked child, Edmund, who betrayed him.

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