King Lear Act 1 Quotes

Here are the some important quotes from Act 1. Many thanks to Simon and Lydia for their hard work putting these quotes together. Now each student has a task. You must choose one of these quotes, or a portion of one and write the quote into the comments section below, comment on the context – speaker, when, why and to whom s/he speaks and significance of the quote. Please also make sure to add your own personal response to the quote. (Apologies, but it might take me a little longer than planned to compile Acts 2 and 3 from the students who submitted on those acts – but hopefully before the end of the day.) Just click on the link below to access the quotes. Good luck!

Act 1 Quotes

9 thoughts on “King Lear Act 1 Quotes”

  1. Fool: If I gave them all my living. I’d keep my coxcombs myself
    He is saying this to Lear and the context is that he is telling Lear that he was foolish to give away his whole kingdom to Regan and Goneril.

  2. Here I disclaim all my paternal care,
    Propinquity and property of blood,
    And as a stranger to my heart and me
    Hold thee from this forever.


    This is the line that will change everything.
    Lear has disowned Cordelia and his luck will change because of it.
    He was blind to see who really loved him and who was just flattering him for the sake of land and power .
    This will lead to the downfall of Lear.

  3. “Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave my heart into my mouth. I love your majesty according to my bond; no more, no less.”- Cordelia

    I found this quote significant because out of Lear’s 3 daughter, Cordelia was the only one who told the truth about their love towards Lear. But since Cordelia tried to tell Lear the truth about her love towards him, she was disowned because Regan and Goneril were able to make up a false truth about their divine love for Lear.

  4. “Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave my heart into my mouth. I love your majesty according to my bond; no more no less.” – Cordelia to Lear.
    The last of the three sisters to show her flattery towards Lear in the love test, Cordelia point-blank refuses to take part in the contest to win over her father’s land, much to Lear’s disgust, disbelief and outrage.
    I particularly like this quote as it displays clearly Cordelia’s defiance and ability to do what she deems herself to be right in the situation, remaining true to herself at all times.

  5. Which of you shall we say doth love us most?
    In this scene, Act 1 scene 1, Lear attempts to use a love test as a way of deciding how he should split up his land. In the love test are his three daughters, Cordelia, Goneril, and Regan. This quote show how arrogant and oblivious Lear is at the start of the play and it is only when he loses all of his power and privileges that he becomes aware of anybody else but himself.

  6. Goneril:
    ”Pray you let us hit together: if our father carry authority with such disposition as he bears, this last surrender of his will but offend us”

    ”We must do something and i’ the heat”

    Goneril and Regan are plotting against their father. They fear Lear’s unpredictable behaviour; if he continues to exert power, they will suffer.
    Goneril and Regan agree that they must act quickly to ensure that Lear no longer has influence over the kingdom.

  7. “Which of you shall we say doth love us most?”

    Speaker -Lear to Goneril, Regan and Cordelia.
    when-Lear announces his intention to divide his kingdon into 3 parts. He wants to give the larger share to the daughter who he feels loves him most.

    This quote is important as it is Lears introduction to the love test. It shows Lears self- loving/self- centered character. We see his political naivety. It marks Lears fatal error in basing his division on his daughters declarations of love for him. It is this mistake that determines Lears fate when his two evil daughters, Goneril and Regan betray him.

  8. “Which of you shall we say doth love us most?”

    Lear> Regan, Cordelia and Goneril

    Lear is offering the largest portion of the kingdom to the daughter whose natural affection and inner worth entitle her to lay claim to his generosity.

    This quote is extremely significant because it is the introduction of the love test which Lear sets out for his three daughters. The result of this love test will shape the rest of the play for all characters involved.

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