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ACT IV, Scene 3

At Dover, Kent learns from the Gentleman that the King of France
has been called back to his own country, but French troops have
arrived in England. The Gentleman also describes Cordelia's
reactions to the letter Kent had written, telling of her father's
miseries. Cordelia had wept upon reading about Lear's tragic
plight. Her love shines brightly in the dark world of hatred and
treachery. Kent is amazed that the kind Cordelia is really a sister to
Goneril and Regan.

Kent informs the Gentleman that an insane Lear has arrived in
Dover. Amidst his ranting and raving, he sometimes remembers
that he has banished the kind Cordelia. Although he would love to
see her, his "burning shame detains him from Cordelia." After his
explanation, Kent sends the Gentleman to attend to the King. Kent
himself will remain in hiding, for one "dear cause" yet remains


This short scene is often excluded from the production of the play,
judged to be unimportant. It does, however, present several
important pieces of information. The French troops have arrived in
England, but Cordelia's husband, the King of France, has been
called home; without adequate leadership, it seems likely that the
French army will be defeated. Additionally, the scene reveals that
Lear has arrived in Dover in a state of near insanity. In his few
lucid moments, he bemoans the fact that he has banished Cordelia
and longs to see her even though he is too ashamed to face her.
The emphasis on Cordelia in the scene seems to foreshadow that
she will eventually take control of the situation and help her father.