Every inch a king
The trick of that voice I do well remember;
Is't not the King?
Ay, every inch a king!
"Every inch a king" is ironically taken at face value nowadays, without the bitter incongruity of the original context. As the blinded and spurned Duke of Gloucester encounters the ragged and spurned King Lear, the two men stage a pathetic reunion. [See MORE SINNED AGAINST THAN SINNING and AS FLIES TO WANTON BOYS ARE WE TO THE GODS.] Gloucester, able to recognize Lear only by his voice, cannot see that Lear has crowned himself with weeds. Lear, insane, has regressed into delusions of omnipotence. When Lear madly declares himself "every inch a king," he states what may be factually accurate, but what is in dramatic terms a lie. We have watched the king slowly degenerate after being stripped of power and dignity by his wicked daughters, and we have heard Lear himself denigrate the pomp of kingship.