“Henceforth I'll bear / Affliction”: Gloucester, Act 4, Scene 6
What finally causes Gloucester to decide, in Act 4, Scene 6, that he no longer wants to die?
Edgar finally convinces him of the height from which he fell, and Gloucester consequently believes his life to have been saved by a miracle.
Gloucester recalls that Poor Tom’s voice was altered on the walk to the cliff’s edge, and he begins to believe that he was saved from his death by a god in disguise.
Having risen from his “fall,” Gloucester stands, feels his legs, and hears the larks above; these simple but profound perceptions renew his desire to persevere.
Edgar uses the same language as an apparent witness to Gloucester’s fall as he did when performing Poor Tom, causing Gloucester to believe the falsehood about the man who led him to the top of the cliff.
Gloucester recalls the purse that he gave to Poor Tom at the top of the supposed “cliff”; having realized that Poor Tom deceived him, he now desires to live to revenge himself on the so-called “beggar.”