" /> Goneril Quotes: King Lear - 80 Important Quotes with Analysis

King Lear Goneril Quotes

I’ll tell thee.
[To Goneril.] Life and death! I am ashamed
That thou hast power to shake my manhood thus,
That these hot tears, which break from me perforce,
Should make thee worth them. Blasts and fogs upon thee!
Th’ untented woundings of a father’s curse
Pierce every sense about thee! Old fond eyes,
Beweep this cause again, I’ll pluck ye out
And cast you with the waters that you loose
To temper clay.

– William Shakespeare

King Lear, Act 1, Scene 4. Lear, asked by Albany what’s the matter, responds with this speech. Feeling betrayed, he tells Goneril that he is ashamed she has the power to shake his "manhood" so much that he is reduced to tears – Goneril does this by cutting his retinue of knights. He curses her with incurable pain and vows that if his old eyes should weep again because of her, he will pluck them out, foreshadowing Gloucester’s blinding. It was Lear’s blindness to the true character of Goneril and sister Regan that led him abdicating to them. The English Shakespearean actor Corin Redgrave said: "Lear has a great fear of the feminine side of his nature. At every critical juncture in the conflict with his daughters, his anxiety and dread are that he will betray his masculinity by crying, and when that happens he is devastated. Notice also how this speech, with its violent imagery of blinding, in this case self-inflicted, anticipates the blinding of Gloucester, who is horribly punished for taking pity on Lear – pity and mercy being feminine qualities."