Note to King Lear, 1.1.37-38


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King Lear,
Act 1, Scene 1, line 37
Give me the map there. Know that we have divided
In three our kingdom:

A contradiction? Later in this speech King Lear says to his three daughters, "Which of you shall we say doth love us most? / That we our largest bounty may extend / Where nature doth with merit challenge," which appears to mean that the daughter who loves him most will receive the largest share of land. However, here he says that he has "divided / In three our kingdom," which appears to mean that he has already decided who gets what, which is Gloucester's impression. (See the second speech of the scene, in which Gloucester says that the portions of Albany and Cornwall are of absolutely equal value.)

So, is King Lear's map just an ordinary one, or does it show Britain with the boundaries of the three parts already drawn, as in the following version by Alex Sciuto?