King Lear
Background on King Lear: King Leir the Play: Scene 25

Alone, Ragan worries.  She has not seen the assassin since he was supposed to have done his deed.  She suspects he may have been persuaded otherwise, in which case Leir is undoubtedly in France.  She wishes for the strength of a man, wondering “why should they have preeminence over us, since we are creatures of more brave resolve?”  She wishes she had done the deed herself, and wishes not well anyone who reproves her role in whatever happens.

Scene 24 . . . Directory . . . Scene 26

Scene 25

Enter Ragan sola.

RAGAN: I feel a hell of conscience in my breast,
Tormenting me with horror for my fact,
And makes me in an agony of doubt,
For fear the world should find my dealing out.
The slave whom I appointed for the act,
I ne’re set eye upon the peasant since:
O, could I get him for to make him sure,
My doubts would cease, and I should rest secure.
But if the old men, with persuasive words,
Have saved their lives, and made him to relent; … [25.10]
Then are they fled unto the Court of France,
And like a Trumpet manifest my shame.
A shame on these white-livered slaves, say I,
That with fair words so soon are overcome.
O God, that I had been but made a man;
Or that my strength were equal with my will!
These foolish men are nothing but mere pity,
And melt as butter doth against the Sun.
Why should they have preeminence over us,
Since we are creatures of more brave resolve? … [25.20]
I swear, I am quite out of charity
With all the heartless men in Christendom.
A pox upon them, when they are afraid
To give a stab, or slit a paltry Windpipe,
Which are so easy matters to be done.
Well, had I thought the slave would serve me so,
Myself would have been executioner:
Tis now undone, and if that it be known,
I’ll make as good shift as I can for one.
He that repines at me, how ere it stands, … [25.30]
‘Twere best for him to keep him from my hands.   Exit.

Produced by THIRTEEN    ©2014 Educational Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.