Come, let's away to prison; We two alone will sing
"Come, let's away to prison;
We two alone will sing like birds I' th' cage."
At the very end of this play, Lear and Cordelia are prisoners in
the British camp. Here the insane Lear addresses his daughter,
expressing his fantasy of spending the rest of his life in prison
with her. He is sane enough to know his own guilt, however: "I'll
kneel down and ask of thee forgiveness." Cordelia is subsequently
killed, and the mad Lear dies as well. These words reflect Lear's
central trait throughout the play: he is in denial of reality at
every turn. Even now, in his madness and defeat he cannot face the
political inevitability that neither he nor his daughter is likely
to be spared.