King Lear: by the numbers

King Lear

So here’s the numerical breakdown…

  • 2960 total lines; longer than the average (play: 2768; tragedy: 2936)
  • There are no scenes that are the longest of their kinds in the Canon
  • Act One, Scene Three is the shortest of its kinds in the Canon
  • Act One: 876 lines; much longer than average (play: 582; tragedy: 660)
  • Act Two: 621 lines; longer than average (play: 567, tragedy: 606)
  • Act Three: 518 lines; much shorter than average (play: 576; tragedy: 644)
  • Act Four: 572 lines; slightly longer than average (play: 560, tragedy: 547)
  • Act Five: 373 lines; much shorter than average (play: 484, tragedy: 479)
  • 778 lines of prose (26.28% of total lines, which is almost exactly that of the average play: 26.32%;  but more than the average tragedy: 16.44%]); compare with The Comedy of Errors: 13.31%, Titus Andronicus: 1.39%, The Taming of the Shrew: 20.82%, 1HenryVI: 0.37%, 2HenryVI: 16.64%, 3HenryVI: 0.14%, Richard III: 2.89%, Love’s Labor’s Lost: 35.08%, The Two Gentlemen of Verona: 26.81%, A Midsummer Night’s Dream: 19.75%, Romeo and Juliet: 14.18%, King John: 0.0%, The Merchant of Venice: 21.79%, Richard II: 0%, 1HenryIV: 44.7%, 2HenryIV: 50.36%, HenryV: 40.89%, Merry Wives: 88.20%, As You Like It: 56.12%, Much Ado: 77.78%, Caesar: 7.47%, Twelfth: 64.44%, Hamlet: 27.33%, Troilus: 32.30%, All’s Well: 48.20%, Measure: 41.40%, and Othello: 19.96%)
  • 119 rhyming lines (4.02% of total lines, which is less than the average [play: 8.35% and tragedy: 5.09%]; least among the problem plays); compare with Comedy: 20.10%, Titus: 2.42%, Taming: 3.93%, 1HenryVI: 9.79%, 2HenryVI: 3.16%, 3HenryVI: 5.37%, Richard III: 7.55%, LLL: 40.86%, 2Gents: 35.08%, Midsummer: 43.5%, Romeo: 16.61%, King John: 6.19%, Merchant: 5.16%, Richard II: 18.95%, 1HenryIV: 1.04%, 2HenryIV: 2.32%, HenryV: 1.80%, Merry Wives: 3.79%, As You Like It: 10.87%, Much Ado: 2.43%, Caesar: 0.41%, Twelfth: 6.09%, Hamlet: 4.91%, and Troilus: 5.40%, All’s Well: 9.05%, Measure: 3.16%, and Othello: 3.09%)
  • 25 scenes; more than average (plays: 21; tragedy: 24)
  • 25 characters; less than average (plays: 36; tragedy: 39)

Check out our “by the numbers” breakdown as an infographic!

Numerical breakdown of King Lear (thumbnail jpg; click for full-size)
Numerical breakdown of King Lear (thumbnail jpg; click for full-size)

[download the pdf (3 mb)]

 

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