KING LEAR - Act 2 Scene 3 & 4 analysis

  • Created by: S_F
  • Created on: 21-05-22 15:58
View mindmap
  • Scene 3
    • In some versions of the play there is no scene break for this scene and so both Edgar turning into a beggar and Kent being put in the stocks may be happening at the same time – this emphasises the effects of Lear’s division of the kingdom.
    • There were many Beggars around in Elizabethan times due to lots of poverty during that era because of the loss of ‘common ground’. The fact he chooses to highlight himself as a social outcast highlights how desperate. helpless and afraid he is.
    • Edgar’s situation mirrors Lear’s. Edgar is now reliant on charity and assumed madness gives a glimpse of what Lear will be reduced to.
    • ‘Bedlam’ (Bethlehem) hospital housed the mentally ill and when released inmates were allowed to go begging for survival. This is what Edgar had been reduced to; again goodness is punished.
    • Scene 4
      • Seeing Kent in the stock upsets Lear as Kent’s punishment is a reflection on him.
      • The Fool suggests that children are kind to their parents only due to self-interest and self-preservation.
      • Lear is concerned with his mental state and fears he is becoming hysterical with sorrow.
      • The fool says not to follow a master whose power is waning. The Fool does not take his own advice, but we see his loyalty and determination to protect and defend Lear. It could be argued that both Kent and the Fool are loyal, devoted fools.
      • The irony is he goes to Regan because he wants to keep all of his knights but he keeps losing them. Lear pleads suffering yet Regan refers to him coldly as “sir” rather than being warm and calling him “father”.
      • Lear has once again misread his daughters. He goes down on his knees (emphasises his weakness) into a self-parody, however, this parody reflects his daughters’ actual opinion of how he should behave.
      • Lear insists he can stay with all his knights (power, dignity and status). He is still clinging to the myth of Regan’s womanly/ gentle nature. This insistence  reminds us the dangers of measuring love in words and numbers.
      • Kent being put in the stocks is disrespectful and humiliating to Lear and his questions being ignored again show a loss of power.
      • Regan’s tone becomes harsher and she dismisses half of his followers. There is a complete lack of concern or care from her.
      • He is forced to swallow his pride. His bargaining is as desperate and impotent as his curses and threats of revenge.
      • Pathetic fallacy here – the storm symbolises the rising tension. The storm is in the distance – Lear is building up to madness.
      • Both the sisters are completely unmoved by Lear’s show of passion and emotion. The king is high with rage and alone, but  they are  still cruel and unmoved by Lear’s agonised final speech
      • Lear’s power and self-possession are stripped away when he is rejected. His changes of mood and tone show increasing mental instability.
      • The pattern of entry and exits mirror that of ACT 1, SCENE 4 and so hints at the chaos to come.
      • Lear calls Gonerill a disease and uses animal imagery – showing how he is being assaulted by his own flesh and blood.
      • His incomplete threats show a decline of status.


No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all King Lear resources »