Meantime we shall express our darker purpose. –
Give me the map there.
Know that we have divided
In three our kingdom, and ’tis our fast intent
To shake all cares and business from our age,
Conferring them on younger strengths, while we
Unburdened crawl toward death.
– William Shakespeare
King Lear, Act 1, Scene 1. King Lear calls his court together to formally divide his kingdom between his three daughters. The aging monarch expresses his desire to live his last years free of care and responsibilities that could be handled by a younger person. But instead of bringing peace and contentment, giving up his power and dividing his kingdom has the opposite result and is a decision that Lear will come to regret right up to his death. The passage is an ironic foreshadowing of the strife and deaths that will follow Learr’s rash decision. His words "our darker purpose" also reflect his blindness to the consequences of his actions. And his bleak image of life, "while we Unburdened crawl toward death," is the language of nihilism – the play is sometimes seen as nihilistic on account of all the betrayal, malice and moral nihilism shown by some of the characters.