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ACT IV, SCENE 7
Cordelia is in her camp near Dover with Kent, a doctor, and others. Cordelia thanks Kent for all that he has done for her father. When Cordelia asks the doctor about the condition of her father who has been brought to her, the doctor replies that the king is still asleep. A sleeping Lear is brought on the scene, and Cordelia kneels before him, waiting for him to wake up. The doctor assures her that the king will be all right. Cordelia gives her father's cheek a kiss. Lear opens his eyes and sees Cordelia looking at him with both love and pity. In his amazement, he thinks she is a spirit come to comfort his poor, tormented soul. When Cordelia asks him if he knows her, Lear replies that she is a spirit. Totally dazed, the King does not know where he is; but he still remembers how much he has suffered.
Lear, thinking he may still be asleep, reassures himself that he is awake by pricking his body with his fingers. Cordelia, still kneeling before him, asks him to bless her. With remorse and humility, Lear kneels with his daughter, whom he now recognizes. Ashamed of the wrong he has done to her, he wants to die and forget all the misery that he has caused. He asks for a cup of poison. The doctor suggests that Lear sleep some more; therefore, Cordelia leads her father away.
Kent, left on stage, converses with a gentleman about the impending battle between the forces of Cordelia and those of Cornwall and Albany.
In this scene, Cordelia and Lear are reunited with melodious tunes playing in the background. The music, representing harmony and peace, is meant to serve as a restorative power, suggesting that chaos can be replaced by order.
Cordelia is a total contrast to her older two sisters. She reveres her father and asks for his blessing. When he tells her that she has reason to despise him, Cordelia responds, "No cause. No cause." Unwilling to judge Lear harshly, even though she has many reasons to do so, she forgives him totally and unconditionally. Lear's response to his daughter's kindness and generosity is a newfound sense of humility, which gives him a sense of grace. The scene clearly emphasizes that goodness is stronger than evil.