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King Lear

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Punning on "Nothing": Act 1, Scene 4

KINGLR-E1KGA@

KENT
This is nothing, fool.
FOOL
Then 'tis like the breath of an unfee'd lawyer; you
gave me nothing for't. Can you make no use of
nothing, nuncle?
KING LEAR
Why, no, boy; nothing can be made out of nothing.
FOOL
[To KENT] Prithee, tell him, so much the rent of
his land comes to: he will not believe a fool.

In this conversation, the Fool takes Kent’s initial “nothing” and turns it to mean something different (see the two italicized words above).

What does each of these characters mean when he says “nothing”?

A

Kent means “empty” while the Fool means “insignificant.”

B

Kent means “zero” while the Fool means “nonexistence.”

C

Kent is speaking of a nonentity while the Fool is speaking of someone of no value.

D

Kent means “meaningless” while the Fool is speaking of a lack of material value.

E

Kent is speaking of an existential emptiness while the Fool is referring to a physical void.