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King Lear

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"This fellow has banished two on’s daughters": Act 1, Scene 4

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The reason the Fool tells Kent/Caius to take his fool’s cap is that “this fellow [Lear] has banished two on’s daughters, and did the third a blessing against his will.”

What does the Fool MOST LIKELY mean when he says that Lear has “banished” two of his daughters?

A

This is probably a misunderstanding on the Fool’s part; since he wasn’t there for the distribution of the kingdom in Scene I, he is working with second-hand information.

B

The Fool is simply stating here what he would have preferred to be the case; it is clear from the conversation that ensues that the Fool is not particularly fond of either Regan or Goneril.

C

By marrying them off to dukes of other provinces in the country (Albany and Cornwall respectively), Lear has practically – if not literally – “banished” both Goneril and Regan.

D

The Fool knows something that Kent does not, which is that Lear has decided to exile both Regan and Goneril; he just hasn’t put this decree into effect yet.

E

When the Fool uses the word “banished” here, he is referring more to an emotional estrangement than a physical one. The suggestion is that Lear’s abdication of power to Regan and Goneril has caused a breach between them that is tantamount to exile.