King Lear: Act 1, Scene 3 Summary and Questions

Lear has gone to stay with Goneril at her castle, as he settles into retired life. Goneril has become irritated with her father’s presence and is appalled that he has struck one of her servants for reprimanding his fool.

She is also annoyed at the “riotous” behaviour of his servants and tells Oswald to inform her servants to treat her father and his servants with disdain. She is hoping that her father will make the decision to go to her sister Regan, who she says, “whose mind and mine I know in that are one, not be overruled.”

We now see clearly exactly what Goneril thinks of her father and that she deceived him in the love-test in order to get what she wanted. She is clearly manipulative and is used to getting what she wants.

Questions on Act 1, Scene 3

  1. What does Oswald tell Goneril about Lear that makes her angry?
  2. What does Goneril tell Oswald to do to Lear and his servants? What is the purpose of this and what does it show about Goneril?
  3. According to Goneril, what do old men become for the second time?
  4. “I’ll write to my sister to hold my very course,” what do you think Goneril means by this?
  5. Goneril is a master of manipulation. Do you agree based on what you have seen so far?
%d bloggers like this: