King Lear
Play Summary and Full Text: Full Text with Clips: Act V Scene 2

In the play’s shortest scene, the battle takes place. Edgar first secludes Gloucester under a tree and leaves (for what we do not know). He returns to disclose that Cordelia has lost the battle and that she and Lear are in custody. He takes Gloucester’s hand to lead him away, but Gloucester refuses: “a man may rot here.” Edgar becomes philosophical—“men must endure their going hence even as their coming hither”—and then utters one of the play’s most ambiguous lines: “ripeness is all.”

Act V Scene 1 . . . Act V Scene 3a

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

ACT V. SCENE II. A field between the two camps.

Alarum within. Enter, with drum and colors, Lear, Cordelia,
and Soldiers, over the stage, and exeunt

Enter Edgar and Gloucester

Here, father, take the shadow of this tree
For your good host. Pray that the right may thrive.
If ever I return to you again,
I’ll bring you comfort.

GLOUCESTER             Grace go with you, sir!   [5]

Exit [Edgar]

Alarum and retreat within. Enter Edgar

Away, old man. Give me thy hand. Away!
King Lear hath lost, he and his daughter ta’en.
Give me thy hand. Come on.

GLOUCESTER   No farther, sir; a man may rot even here.

What, in ill thoughts again? Men must endure    [10]
Their going hence, even as their coming hither.
Ripeness is all. Come on.

GLOUCESTER                     And that’s true too.


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

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