Study Guide

King Lear Act 4, Scene 3

By William Shakespeare

Act 4, Scene 3

  • Kent, still in disguise and seemingly enjoying it, meets again with the messenger that was sent to Cordelia, but this time near the French camp at Dover.
  • Kent wants all the details about how Cordelia reacted to his news, and the messenger reports that her nobility kept her from rage.
  • It was rather clear, he says, that she was between patience and sorrow as she read of her sisters' wickedness and her father's suffering.
  • The messenger declares that if everyone could look as good as Cordelia did while she wept for her father, then sorrow would be the new fashion.
  • Further, Kent reveals that though Lear's in town near Cordelia, he refuses to see her.
  • Not because he's stubborn, but because he's really ashamed himself. His shame (and his pride, implicitly) consume him so much that he can't bring himself to see his only good daughter.
  • Besides all of this family drama, we also learn that Albany and Cornwall both have military elements afoot.
  • Kent says he'll drop the gentleman messenger off at Lear's place, and in the meantime go take care of some secret business.

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