Study Guide

King Lear Act 4, Scene 7

By William Shakespeare

Act 4, Scene 7

  • Cordelia enters, talking with Kent. She tells him it's time for him to take off his "Caius" disguise, but Kent says he's not ready to become himself again—he's got a plan and he doesn't want Cordelia to reveal his true identity.
  • The doctor who has been tending Lear tells Cordelia that her father is ready to be woken up. They put on music for him, and Cordelia kisses her father and talks about how his other daughters have abused him. When he finally begins to wake, Cordelia asks him how he feels.
  • When Lear opens his eyes, he assumes he is in the afterworld and surrounded by spirits. Slowly, he gets his bearings and recognizes Cordelia.
  • The father and daughter are together for the first time since Lear unfairly banished her. Both of them need forgiveness from each other, but perhaps one more so than the other.
  • When Cordelia kneels before him, he tries to kneel to her. "If you have poison for me, I will drink it," he tells her. "I know you do not love me, for your sisters / have, as I remember, done me wrong. / You have some cause, they have not." "No cause, no cause," Cordelia reassures him.
  • They exit to continue this touching reunion scene offstage.
  • Kent and the Gentleman stay behind to share intel. They confirm that Cornwall is dead, and Edmund now leads his troops as the Earl of Gloucester. There are also rumors that Edgar is with the Earl of Kent in Germany.

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