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King Lear

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“Her sister / By her is poisoned”: Act 5, Scene 3

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Toward the middle of Act 5, Scene 3, Albany learns from a Gentleman that Goneril is dead — as is Regan, who was poisoned by Goneril. The exchange goes:

Gentleman
O, she’s dead!

ALBANY
Who dead? speak, man.

Gentleman
Your lady, sir, your lady: and her sister
By her is poisoned; she hath confess'd it.

Goneril’s poisoning of her sister might come as a surprise — perhaps more to a reader of the play than to an audience member of a staged production.

But the scene contains textual evidence of Goneril’s conspiracy prior to the above revelation, in the line

A

“Jesters do oft prove prophets.” (Regan)

B

“That eye that told you so look'd but a-squint.” (Goneril)

C

“My lady is bespoke.” (Albany)

D

“If not, I'll ne'er trust medicine.” (Goneril)

E

“My sickness grows upon me.” (Regan)