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In King Lear, discuss Lear's reaction to the storm on the heath and its thematic...

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kuollutlintu | Honors

Posted June 26, 2012 at 2:55 PM via web

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In King Lear, discuss Lear's reaction to the storm on the heath and its thematic connection with the entire play.

The fragment corresponds to the lines since: "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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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 27, 2012 at 6:36 AM (Answer #1)

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King Lear's reaction to the storm on the heath in Act III, scene 2 is significant from a thematic point of view for a couple of reasons.  Consider the overall idea of "nothingness" that has been in play throughout the drama.  Cordelia responds with nothing to open in the drama when talking with her father, to which Learn responds "Nothing will come of nothing."  The lack of speech to her father is what causes her to be banished and sets the drama in motion.  This same element is being modeled by Lear at the end of his speech when he says "I will say nothing," almost a nod to Cordelia and his own blighted condition where he has nothing of value after thinking for so long that he did.  The thematic idea of "nothingness" is evident in other points in Lear's speech, as well.  Consider his using negation words and phrases to articulate the condition of he and his children:

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:

I think that the overall condition of negation that is so much  part of the speech helps to bring out the theme that Lear himself understands in that nothingness defines his state of being. 

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