How does King Lear develop as a parent in the storm scene?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that pity becomes one of the most important affective developments in Lear as a result of the storm scene.  Lear vacillates between pity and self- pity.  It is in this condition where I think that Lear becomes a more wise and attune parent.  Throughout the entire drama up to this point, Lear cannot understand nor fathom why his children act in the way they do.  It is through this scene where Lear understands the implications of their actions.  He also understands that his own condition is, in part, due to the lack of attention he paid to being a father.  Lear had been driven in his identity as a ruler and his idea of how he might not have been an effective father is a secondary element.  It is in this scene where Lear assesses his own condition as a father, first.  There is not much in way of Lear's own assessment of him as a ruler, but rather as a father, focusing on "filial ingratitude" and how his children could have treated him in such a manner.  Lear is focused on this element in this scene and as a result, actually progresses and advances as a father.  The statement that Shakespeare might be making is that in order to become a better parent, one has to assess in an honest way one's own failures and shortcomings, something that Lear begins to do as a result of the storm scene.


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