What Is the Meaning of “we Will All Laugh at Gilded Butterflies”?

The phrase “We will all laugh at gilded butterflies” comes from the play “King Lear” by William Shakespeare. In the quote, the phrase “gilded butterflies” refers to pretentious courtiers.

King Lear makes this statement in a speech during the final scene of the play, when he and his daughter Cordelia are being led to prison. During this speech, King Lear envisions their future as a fantasy in which he and his daughter live together like birds in a cage. In this fantasy, they hear about what is happening in the world but are completely unaffected by it.