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Briefly situate the following passage within King Lear.The fragment corresponds to the...

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kuollutlintu | Honors

Posted June 25, 2012 at 6:02 PM via web

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Briefly situate the following passage within King Lear.

The fragment corresponds to the lines from: "Storm still. Enter Lear and Fool. Lear. Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!" to "Lear. No, I will be the pattern of all patience; I will say nothing." 

You can find the whole fragment here: http://shakespeare.mit.edu/lear/lear.3.2.html

Thanks a lot for your extraordinary help!

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 26, 2012 at 8:57 AM (Answer #1)

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This extract is part of Act III scene 2, and comes after Lear has been turfed out onto the desolate moor by his daughters, Goneril and Regan, who are tired of looking after their aged father and pandering to his whims. It is always worth considering what happens both before and afterwards if you are given an extract like this, so that you can not only locate it physically in the play but also work out how it fits in to the plot.

Because Lear has been sent out to wander the moor with nobody but his Fool for company, we can understand why his challenge to the storm to do its worst always comes back to his daughters and how ungrateful they are:

Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! spout, rain!
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters:
I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;
I never gave you kingdom, call'd you children,
You owe me no subscription: then let fall
Your horrible pleasure...

Lear compares the storm to his daughters, always finding his daughters wanting. Yet it is also important to note that the chaos that is evidenced in nature is mirrored by the political chaos that is plaguing Lear's former kingdom. In Act III scene 1 we are told of cracks in the alliance between Cornwall and Albany and how the kingdom is disintegrating as a result. The extract you have been given indicates the way in which political turmoil is paralleled by a similar turmoil in nature.

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