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King Lear - Act 3, Scene 2

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by

Steve Croydon

on 9 October 2013

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Transcript of King Lear - Act 3, Scene 2

King Lear - Act 3, Scene 2
Characters
Lear
Fool
Kent
Summary
Lear, outside in the storm that has been brewing since the previous scene, is behaving angrily and irrationally. He encourages the storm to continue and rages about the way his daughters have treated him. Both the Fool and Kent try to persuade him to seek respite indoors, to which Lear eventually agrees, and they all leave to find shelter.
Themes
Madness - Lear's speech in the opening shows he is going mad and he is rapidly losing control of everything. (see Line 67)
Loyalty - both the Fool and Kent, Lear's only real friends left, try to convince him to leave the storm and go inside.
Power - a role reversal of sorts is seen. Lear is now 'poor, infirm, weak and despised' and has lost all control and authority. It is his servants that coax him back inside, possibly they now hold some power. Line 38 also shows a role reversal and how Lear is evolving as a character, as does Line 71.
Analysis of language
The storm - a metaphor for Lear's confused and angry mindset. Lear is both battling against the storm as well as encouraging it, suggesting confusion and loss of sanity.
Lear's speech - Lear is making direct speech to the storm itself ('I tax not you, the elements') but of course gets no reply. This emphasises Lear's disconnection with the natural world or human understanding.
Apocalyptic language - ('hurricanoes', 'thought-executing fires', 'all-shaking thunder') represents Lear's rage on the outside world and how his world has come to a symbolic end now he has lost his daughters, shown by his constant references to them.
Analysis of language
Lear's growing humility - Lear realises now that he is 'A poor, infirm, weak and despised old man' and later asks the Fool 'How dost my boy? Art thou cold?' showing a genuine concern for someone other than himself and we our opinions of him begin to change. This is contrasted by Line 60.
Ambiguous language - The Fool states he and Lear as 'A wise man and a fool' however it is not specified who is who.
'Alack, bareheaded?' (Line 60) - no crown or hat, shows Lear's complete loss of power or authority.
Fool's prophecy - acts as a warning to the future, when chaos is upon us, England will turn to ruin.
Full transcript