Notes on Act I, scene v

daughter: Regan; this is an oversight on Shakespeare's part, as how could Lear know that Regan will be at Gloucester's castle, when she says they purposely left their own home to avoid Lear (II.i)?

kibes: an inflammation followed by itchy irritation on the hands, feet, or ears, resulting from exposure to moist cold, known today as chilblains.

prithee: pray thee

slip-shod: You needn't wear slippers to protect you from chilblains, implying that he hasn't any brains in his heels or elsewhere, if he intends to go to Regan for help.

kindly: double meaning: affectionately (ironic) or in kind, according to her nature

this: this one, he compares her to Goneril

crab: crab apple; although the two sisters don't look alike, they will "taste" alike.

her: Cordelia; already Lear's conscience bothers him.

case: covering

nature: paternal instincts

asses: followers (for only asses follow a fool like you)

seven stars: the constellation of Pleiades

perforce: perhaps Lear contemplates taking back his kingdom by force if necessary

temper: mentally balanced, sane

maid: virgin

things: male genitals; a foolish maid will not remain a virgin for long, unless surrounded by impotent men (Lear).

 


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