KING LEAR - Act 3 Scene 4, (5,) 6 & 7 analysis

  • Created by: S_F
  • Created on: 21-05-22 21:02
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  • Scene 4
    • Kent suggests they take shelter but Lear says the storm does not affect him because he is suffering from inner torment. He argues that mental suffering numbs the body to pain.
    • He is praying, not to the gods, but to the ‘poor naked wretches’ which he ignored when he held power. Lear learns compassion through his devastation and suffering. (This idea of sharing wealth is later echoed by Gloucester when he gives his purse to Poor Tom).
    • Lear curses Poor Tom’s daughters (even though Kent then confirms that he has no daughters.) Lear is projecting his suffering on Poor Tom. It is ironic that he assumes Poor Tom is mad because of his ‘daughters’ when actually he is like that because of what his father has done.
    • Edgar is mimicking being someone who is possessed by demons. Even though the audience knew Edgar was imitating it would still have struck an element of horror as 17th century England was very superstitious.
    • Shakespeare wants to highlight that humans are the same and equally vulnerable to the forces of nature and fate regardless of status.
    • Gloucester appears with a torch, the light is a symbol of salvation and safety, and is dismayed to see the king in such poor company but Lear fails to recognise him.
    • Lear’s concern for Kent, the Fool and Poor Tom suggest he is learning compassion and the sympathy we feel for him grows as he learns to pity others.


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