32 Best 'King Lear' Quotes By William Shakespeare

'King Lear' famous quotes are integral to the play's plot.

'King Lear' is considered to be amongst Shakespeare's greatest tragedies ever written.

It is centered on a king named Lear, who suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and how he passes on his power to his two elder daughters Goneril and Regan after they extravagantly express their love for him instead of his youngest daughter Cordelia who refused to flatter him. After having been betrayed by his two daughters because of this tragic flaw, he is driven to a state of insanity.

There are several fascinating characters in the play like the Earl of Gloucester, the youngest and betrayed daughter of King Lear, Cordelia, his other daughters, Regan and Goneril, as well as side characters like Edmund. This play teaches us quite a few morals including how one should stay humble and also that actions speak louder than words.

Here is a list of some important quotes from this play. We have put together King Lear quotes explained, King Lear blindness quotes, King Lear famous quotes, King Lear fool quotes, and other quotes from King Lear. The other quotes also are part of King Lear important quotes and important Shakespeare quotes, including Edmund Quotes King Lear, Regan quotes King Lear, Edgar quotes King Lear and King Lear Cordelia quotes.

If you like our content, you can check out other articles like, [Tybalt quotes] and [Shakespeare love quotes].

Important Quotes In 'King Lear'

The dialogues in 'King Lear' are also very relevant to life and living.

Here's a comprehensive list of some of the most important quotes from this iconic Shakesperean tragic play.

1. "When we are born, we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools."

-King Lear, Act 4, Scene 4.

2. "As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods. They kill us for their sport."

-King Lear, Act 4, Scene 1.

3. "Nothing will come of nothing: speak again."

-King Lear, Act 4, Scene 1.

4. "The prince of darkness is a gentleman!"

-Edgar, Act 3, Scene 4.

5. "This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune,--often the surfeit of our own behavior,--we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars: as if we were villains by necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on: an admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star."

-Edmund, Act 1, Scene 2

6. "I cannot heave my heart into my mouth. I love your majesty according to my bond; no more no less."

-Cordelia, Act 1, Scene 1

7. "Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise."

-Fool, Act 1 Scene 5

8. "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is To have a thankless child!"

-King Lear, Act 1, Scene 4

9. "The weight of this sad time we must obey, Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say. The oldest hath borne most: we that are young Shall never see so much, nor live so long."

-Edgar, Act 5, Scene 3

10. "I am a man more sinned against than sinning."

-King Lear, Act 3, Scene 2

11. “O, let me kiss that hand!

King Lear: Let me wipe it first; it smells of mortality.”

-Act 4, Scene 6

12. "A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson, glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar"

-Kent, Act 2, Scene 2

13. " My love's more ponderous than my tongue"

-Cordelia, Act I Scene I

14. " Now, our joy, Although our last and least "

-King Lear, Act I Scene I

15. "Thy dow'rless daughter, king, thrown to my chance, Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France."

-The King Of France, Act 1, Scene 1

16. "The art of our necessities is strange, That can make vile things precious. Come, your hovel.'

-King Lear, Act I Scene I

17. "And worse I may be yet: the worst is not so long as we can say 'This is the worst."

-Edgar, Act 4, Scene 1

Quotes About Madness And Betrayal In 'King Lear'

There are countless quotes about madness and betrayal that are very relevant to this play.

The recurring theme of madness and betrayal is of innate importance in the play. Here are some quotes about madness from 'King Lear.' These include the famous King Lear madness quotes, and some of the famous king lear quotes.

18. "Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow! You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks! You sulfurous and thought-executing fires, Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts, Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder, Strike flat the thick rotundity o' the world! Crack nature's molds, all germens spill at once That make ingrateful man!"

-King Lear, Act 3, Scene 2

19. "No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to prison: We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage: When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down, And ask of thee forgiveness: so we'll live, And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too, Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out; And take upon's the mystery of things, As if we were God's spies: and we'll wear out, In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones, That ebb and flow by the moon."

-King Lear, Act 5, Scene 3

20. "Thou art a boil, a plague sore, an embossed carbuncle in my corrupted blood."

-King Lear, Act 2, Scene 4

21. "O, that way madness lies; let me shun that."

-King Lear, Act 2, Scene 4

22. "Time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides. Who cover faults, at last shame them derides."

-Cordelia, Act 1, Scene 1

23. "Truth's a dog must to kennel; he must be whipped out, when Lady the brach may stand by the fire and stink."

-The Fool, Act 1, Scene 4

24. "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child!"

-King Lear, Act 1, Scene 4

25. "O, reason not the need! our basest beggars are in the poorest thing superfluous. Allow not nature more than nature needs, man's life's as cheap as beast's."

-King Lear, Act 2, Scene 4

26. "Poor naked wretches, whereso'er you are, That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm, How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides, Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp; Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel"

-King Lear, Act 3, Scene 4

27. "Proper deformity shows not in the fiend so horrid as in woman."

-Albany, Act 4, Scene 2

28. "I have full cause of weeping; but this heart Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws, Or ere I'll weep. O Fool, I shall go mad!"

-King Lear, Act 2, Scene 4

29. "Return to her, and fifty men dismiss'd? No, rather I abjure all roofs, and choose to wage against the enmity o' th' air, to be a comrade with the wolf and owl,— Necessity's sharp pinch!"

-King Lear, Act 2, Scene 4

30. "Ingratitude, thou marble-hearted fiend, More hideous when thou show'st thee in a child than the sea-monster!"

-King Lear, Act 1, Scene 4

31. "I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness; I never gave you kingdom, call'd you children, You owe me no subscription: then let fall Your horrible pleasure: here I stand, your slave, A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man."

-King Lear, Act 3, Scene 2

32. "Who is it that can tell me who I am?"

-King Lear, Act 1, Scene 1

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for King Lear quotes then why not take a look at [Midsummer Night's Dream Quotes], or [Othello quotes].



At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.

Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.

Sponsorship & Advertising Policy

Kidadl is independent and to make our service free to you the reader we are supported by advertising.

We hope you love our recommendations for products and services! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.

Kidadl has a number of affiliate partners that we work with including Amazon. Please note that Kidadl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.

We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.

Read our Sponsorship & Advertising Policy
Get The Kidadl Newsletter

1,000 of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

Thank you! Your newsletter will be with you soon.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
No items found.