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The storm on the heath represents the growing storm of madness overtaking Lear. Just before going into the hovel, Lear complains of "Filial Ingratitude" and he can only see his own problems. When he encounters Edgar, who is disguised as Tom o' Bedlam, he accuses Tom's daughters of driving him mad. Kent tries to help Lear by telling him that Tom "hath no daughters" but Lear threatens to execute Kent. For a moment, Lear has a bit of clarity and concern for others and he prays for "all naked wretches" in the storm and also condemns himself for taking "too little care of this." But his madness and self pity continue and he calls his daughters "pelican daughters". Lear then begins to take off his clothes in an attempt to become someone else.
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