I need helping writing an outline for an essay tracing Lear's progress in Act II from denial to rage to isolation.Also, I need some quotations from the play to illustrate my points.  

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shakespeareguru eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your outline will come after you have done the appropriate research on your topic, including gathering quotes to support your topic:  Lear's progress in Act II from denial to rage to isolation.

The first step in researching your topic would be to gather the events of the plot of Act II as they involve Lear.  Since Lear doesn't arrive onstage in Act II until the final scene of the Act, scene four, this is the scene in which you must trace this progress in Lear.

The scene opens with Lear's arrival at Gloucester's castle wondering why his daughter has not apprised him of her whereabouts.  He then discovers Kent stuck in the stocks by his son-in-law, and argues with Kent that this, in fact, cannot be true.


What's he that hath so much thy place mistook

To set thee here?


It is both he and she;

Your son and daughter.






No, I say.


I say, yea.


No, no, they would not.


Yes, they have.


By Jupiter, I swear no.


By Juno, I swear aye.


They durst not do't.

They could not, would not do't.

And so, here is your denial.  He also continues in his state of denial when he refuses to realize that his daughter Regan and her husband Cornwall are neither "sick" nor weary but simply refuse to speak with him.

He then becomes angry when he realizes that not only have they put his man in the stocks, they are ignoring a direct command from the King by refusing to speak with him.  He says:

Are they inform'd of this?  My breath and blood!

. . .Death on my state!  Wherefore

Should he sit here?. . .bid them come forth and hear me,

Or at their chamber door I'll beat the drum

Till it cry sleep to death. . . .

O me, my heart, my rising heart!

And there is your rage. A rage that is contained once Regan appears and he actually kneels before her to "beg" for "raiment, bed and food," but that surfaces again as Regan continues to tell Lear to return to Goneril's house for food and shelter.  He has been slighted by Goneril and grows angry at the idea that he might be made to go to her.  He says:

No, rather I abjure all roofs and choose

To wage against the enmity o' the air.

But finally, he is made to go with Goneril stripped not only of his followers, but of his kingly pride.  In his isolation, he says:

You see me here, you gods, a poor old man,

As full of grief as age; wretched in both!

. . .You think I'll weep;

No, I'll not weep.

I have full cause of weeping; but this heart

Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws,

Or ere I shall weep.

As for your outline, it seems to me, that you should create it similar to this:

  • Introduction, including your thesis statement.
  • A paragraph summarizing the events of the first portion of the scene, in which he is in denial and providing your supporting quotes.
  • A paragraph summarizing the events of the second portion of the scene in which he progresses to rage, with quotes.
  • A paragraph summarizing the events of part three of the scene and its isolation, again with quotes.
  • Conclusion.

Please follow the links below for more on Lear, Act II, scene iv and an Enotes page on writing an essay.