The oldest hath borne most: we that are young,
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.
– William Shakespeare
King Lear, Act 5, Scene 3. In the last words of the play, Edgar calls on us all to have regard for our elders. The oldest have suffered the most and those who are young will never witness so much or live as long, he says. Edgar’s statement is certainly true in the case of Lear and Gloucester, yet it is made by a young man who has himself experienced all the woes of the world. He is the apocalyptic survivor who has been betrayed by his brother, forced into beggary, seen what has happened to the banished Kent, lived through the deaths of Lear and Cordelia and others. It could be said that the young Edgar has seen far more than anybody else in the play. So there is an irony to his words about the oldest suffering the most.