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Madness of King Lear

The Madness in King Lear in relation to the characters and the use of their clothing as imagery.

Dipinder Benipal

on 23 July 2013

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Transcript of Madness of King Lear

The Madness in King Lear
What Is Madness
Madness is the state of being mentally ill.
The Different Kinds of Madness
Psychosis - A form of insanity that focuses on rage and anger towards others.
King Lear's Stages of Insanity
King Lear as the Tragic Hero of the Play, undergoes several stages of insanity as the play develops.
Agent of Chaos
The Mad Characters
"No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness. " - Aristotle

King Lear - He is the character that is truly mad in this Play.

The Fool - He is a character that is meant to be mad, however he expresses more logic and reason than several other characters in the play.

Edgar/Poor Tom - he is a character that only pretends to be mad, when in truth he is actually the character with the most logic and reason.
Extremely Foolish Behavior
Insanity, Rage, Fury, Craziness etc.
Schizophrenia - This is a very serious form of insanity where an individual can lose their grasp on reality and suffer delusions. The actions of the individual become chaotic and unpredictable.
Early Acts - Lear's has begun into descend into madness, and he seems to realize what is happening to him but does nothing to change it.
"O! let me not be mad, not mad sweet heaven; Keep me in temper; I would not be mad!" (1.5.41-42)
Central Acts - Lear now starts to shows signs of Psychosis and Schizophrenia, when he loses control of his temper and starts having delusions respectively.
"Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow! ... That makes ingrateful man!" (3.2.1-9)
Delusional throughout Act III Scene 6 -The Trial, his Daughters, the Dogs, the Time, etc.
Final Acts - As Order begins to return to the Play, Lear also begins to escape his madness.
He has become a wiser man because of it and has realized truths he could not see before (his Daughters,Kent,himself, etc.). However it unclear whether Lear truly managed to overcome his insanity because he dies.
Madness and Gravity
Chaos is a Ladder
The Fool and Poor Tom
"Thou should'st not have been old till thou hadst been wise" (1.5.39-40).
"The weight of this sad time we must obey ... Shall never see so much, nor live so long" (5.3.322-325).
Chaos - Complete Disorder and Confusion
Mad Clothes
Shakespeare use clothing as a piece of imagery to depict madness in King Lear.
As Lear develops his character throughout the play, his clothing also undergoes from being that of the Upper Class to that of the Lower Class. The more clothing these characters lose the more insane they become, but the closer they are to the truth. (ex. III.iii.6-12, III.ii.44-45)

Clothed - Deceit (ex. Goneril/Reagan/Edmund)
Naked - Truth (ex. Lear/Fool/Kent/Edgar)
Full transcript