King Lear

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Act 1, Scene 5: Narrative Development


Act 1, Scene 5 is a short scene. But while it might initially appear like little more than a continuation of the banter between Lear and the Fool (an extension, so to speak, of Scene 4), the scene develops the narrative in quite a few ways.

These include:

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presenting Regan’s demands in a letter she sends to Lear, establishing her and Goneril as partners in Lear’s escalating madness.


revealing Lear’s awareness of the position he has put himself in, along with his fears about the future.


confirming the Fool as a (paradoxically) wise character.


giving the Fool a chance to apologize for the way he disrespected Lear in the prior scene.


giving the Fool a chance to make a prediction about how things will go between Lear and Regan.