In King Lear, act 2, scene 4, Lear leaves Gloucester’s palace in exasperation and in a rage. How do Cornwall and Regan say Gloucester should respond to Lear's departure? What is their reasoning? How does this reflect on them? Define “pathetic fallacy.” Use the definition to explain how pathetic fallacy is used to heighten the tension at the end of this scene.

In act 2, scene 4 of Shakespeare's' King Lear, Lear's daughters, Goneril and Regan, and Regan's husband, the Duke of Cornwall, advise Gloucester to leave Lear outside in the coming storm to teach him a lesson that he's no longer a powerful king and he has little control of his own life. The pathetic fallacy of the storm symbolizes the stormy upheaval in Lear's life and Lear's mistreatment at the hands of his daughters, Goneril and Regan.

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In act 2, scene 4 of Shakespeare's King Lear, Lear's daughters, Goneril and Regan, have humiliated, mistreated, and emotionally abused Lear, who leaves Gloucester's castle in an impotent rage, vowing revenge against his daughters.

LEAR. ... [Y]ou unnatural hags,
I will have such revenges on you both,
That all the world shall—I will do such things,—
What they are, yet I know not: but they shall be
The terrors of the earth. (2.4.300-304)

Accompanying Lear when he leaves the castle are the Earl of Gloucester, Lear's literary foil, whose family life parallels Lear's; the Earl of Kent, Lear’s loyal, outspoken follower; and Lear's worldly-wise Fool.

Cornwall remarks that there's going to be a storm. Goneril respond that it's Lear's own fault if he's caught in it.

GONERIL. 'Tis his own blame; hath put himself from rest,
And must needs taste his folly. (2.4.312-313)

After a moment, Gloucester returns to ask Regan, Goneril, and Cornwall, Regan's husband, what he should do about Lear. "'Tis best to give him way," says Cornwall. "He leads himself." (2.4.322)

Goneril's only concern for Lear is that he doesn't come back into the castle.

GONERIL. My lord, entreat him by no means to stay. (2.4.323)

Gloucester expresses concern for Lear. The "bleak winds" are rising, he says, and there's no protection from the storm for many miles around.

Ever uncaring of her father, Regan reiterates Goneril's observation that it's Lear's own fault if he's caught in the storm, and that this will teach Lear a lesson.

REGAN. O, sir, to wilful men,
The injuries that they themselves procure
Must be their schoolmasters. (2.4.327-329)

Goneril and Regan simply want Gloucester to abandon Lear to the growing storm to teach him that he's no longer a king of any consequence—certainly not as far as they're concerned—and that he no longer has control over his own life.

CORNWALL. [to Gloucester] Shut up your doors, my lord; 'tis a wild night:
My Regan counsels well; come out o' the storm. (2.4.334-335)

The pathetic fallacy of the now-raging storm represents the turmoil in Lear's own life, his inner emotional conflict, and his outer conflict with his daughters and with the world around him.

The storm takes on Goneril and Regan's personalities. Like Lear's daughters, the storm has no concern or respect for Lear's status as a king or as their father. Lear is powerless against the storm in the same way that he's powerless against his ruthless, unfeeling daughters.

As the power of the storm increases, so does the tension in the scene increase between Lear and his daughters and between Lear and the storm itself. The storm has become, in essence, a character in the play that will continue to influence Lear's behavior throughout the rest of Lear's tragic life.

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