In the play’s most brutal scene, Cornwall, the two daughters, and Edmund gather. Cornwall declares that the armies of France have landed. He has a letter implicating Gloucester as a traitor that must go to Albany. Regan wants to hang him high. Goneril says, “Pluck out his eyes.” Cornwall directs Edmund to take Goneril to Albany, as “the revenges we are bound to take upon your traitorous father are not fit for your beholding.” Oswald then arrives with news that Gloucester has managed to secret Lear out of the territory accompanied by an armed guard. Gloucester himself soon enters, a prisoner of two or three servants. He is bound to a chair, meanwhile protesting that they are in his house and should respect his position, as well as his innocence. (He is of course guilty from their point of view.) Under interrogation, he admits sending Lear to Dover, delivering a venomous speech that sounds much like Lear himself. In response, Cornwall gouges out one of his eyes. One of Cornwall’s servants objects, draws his sword, wounds Cornwall, but then dies from a sword in the back thrust by Regan. Cornwall then gouges out Gloucester’s other eye. Rather than kill him altogether, Regan says, “Thrust him out at gates and let him smell his way to Dover.” Cornwall then notices that he is wounded, and exits with Regan. (He will die soon.) The remaining servants apply some balm and a bandage to Gloucester’s eyes and take him out to “Bedlam” (Edgar), “whose roguish madness allows itself to anything.”
ACT III. SCENE VII. Gloucester’s castle.
(The McKellen film rearranges the opening lines of this scene considerably.)
Enter Cornwall, Regan, Goneril, Bastard [Edmund], and Servants
Post speedily to my lord your husband. Show him
this letter. The army of France is landed.Seek
out the traitor Gloucester.
REGAN Hang him instantly.
GONERIL Pluck out his eyes. 
Leave him to my displeasure. Edmund, keep you our
sister company. The revenges we are bound to take upon
your traitorous father are not fit for your beholding. Advise
the Duke where you are going, to a most festinate
preparation. We are bound to the like. Our posts shall be 
swift and intelligent betwixt us. Farewell, dear sister.
Farewell, my lord of Gloucester.
How now! Where’s the King?
My lord of Gloucester hath conveyed him hence.
Some five or six and thirty of his knights, 
Hot questrists after him, met him at gate,
Who, with some other of the lords dependants,
Are gone with him towards Dover, where they boast
To have well-armed friends.
CORNWALL Get horses for your mistress. 
GONERIL Farewell, sweet lord, and sister. Exit
CORNWALL Edmund, farewell.
[To Servants] Go seek the traitor Gloucester,
Pinion him like a thief, bring him before us.
Though well we may not pass upon his life 
Without the form of justice, yet our power
Shall do a courtesy to our wrath, which men
May blame but not control. Who’s there? The traitor?
Enter Gloucester and Servants
REGAN Ingrateful fox, ’tis he.
CORNWALL Bind fast his corky arms. 
What mean your graces? Good my friends, consider
You are my guests. Do me no foul play, friends.
CORNWALL Bind him, I say.
REGAN Hard, hard. O filthy traitor!
GLOUCESTER Unmerciful lady as you are, I’m none. 
CORNWALL To this chair bind him. Villain, thou shalt find—
By the kind gods, ’tis most ignobly done
To pluck me by the beard.
REGAN So white, and such a traitor!
GLOUCESTER Naughty lady, 
These hairs which thou dost ravish from my chin
Will quicken and accuse thee. I am your host.
With robbers’ hands my hospitable favors
You should not ruffle thus. What will you do?
CORNWALL Come, sir, what letters had you late from France? 
REGAN Be simple answered, for we know the truth.
And what confederacy have you with the traitors
Late footed in the kingdom?
REGAN To whose hands
Have you sent the lunatic King? Speak. 
I have a letter guessingly set down,
Which came from one that’s of a neutral heart,
And not from one opposed.
REGAN And false. 
CORNWALL Where hast thou sent the King?
GLOUCESTER To Dover.
REGAN Wherefore to Dover? Wast thou not charged at peril—
CORNWALL Wherefore to Dover? Let him answer that.
GLOUCESTER I am tied to th’ stake, and I must stand the course. 
REGAN Wherefore to Dover?
Because I would not see thy cruel nails
Pluck out his poor old eyes, nor thy fierce sister
In his anointed flesh stick boarish fangs.
The sea, with such a storm as his bare head 
In hell-black night endured, would have buoyed up,
And quenched the stelled fires.
Yet, poor old heart, he holp the heavens to rain.
If wolves had at thy gate howled that stern time,
Thou shouldst have said “Good porter, turn the key, 
All cruels else subscribe.” But I shall see
The winged vengeance overtake such children.
See’t shalt thou never. Fellows, hold the chair.
Upon these eyes of thine I’ll set my foot.
He that will think to live till he be old, 
Give me some help! O cruel! O you gods!
[Cornwall puts out one of Gloucester's eyes.]
REGAN One side will mock another; th’ other too.
CORNWALL If you see vengeance—
Hold your hand, my lord.
I have served you ever since I was a child, 
But better service have I never done you
Than now to bid you hold.
REGAN How now, you dog!
If you did wear a beard upon your chin,
I’d shake it on this quarrel. What do you mean? 
CORNWALL My villain!
First Servant Nay then, come on, and take the chance of anger.
[They draw and fight]
REGAN Give me thy sword. A peasant stand up thus! Kills him.
O, I am slain! My lord, you have one eye left
To see some mischief on him. O! [Dies] 
Lest it see more, prevent it. Out, vile jelly!
Where is thy luster now?
All dark and comfortless. Where’s my son Edmund?
Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature
To quit this horrid act. 
REGAN Out, treacherous villain.
Thou call’st on him that hates thee. It was he
That made the overture of thy treasons to us,
Who is too good to pity thee.
O my follies! Then Edgar was abused. 
Kind gods, forgive me that and prosper him.
Go thrust him out at gates, and let him smell
His way to Dover. Exit [servants] with Gloucester.
How is’t, my lord? How look you?
I have received a hurt. Follow me, lady. 
Turn out that eyeless villain. Throw this slave
Upon the dunghill. Regan, I bleed apace.
Untimely comes this hurt. Give me your arm.
Exeunt [Cornwall and Regan]
I'll never care what wickedness I do 
If this man come to good.
If she live long,
And in the end meet the old course of death,
Women will all turn monsters.
Let’s follow the old earl and get the Bedlam 
To lead him where he would. His roguish madness
Allows itself to anything.
Go thou. I’ll fetch some flax and whites of eggs
To apply to his bleeding face. Now, heaven help him!]