What literary devices are used in this passage?

Thou think’st ’tis much that this contentious storm Invades us to the skin. So ’tis to thee. But where the greater malady is fixed The lesser is scarce felt. Thou’dst shun a bear, 10 But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea Thou’dst meet the bear i' th' mouth. When the mind’s free, The body’s delicate. The tempest in my mind Doth from my senses take all feeling else Save what beats there—filial ingratitude. 15 Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand For lifting food to ’t? But I will punish home. No, I will weep no more. In such a night To shut me out! Pour on, I will endure. In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril, 20 Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all—Oh, that way madness lies. Let me shun that. No more of that.

Quick answer:

Lear uses simile, metaphor, and repetition in this passage to convey his intense emotion at being betrayed. Sometimes Shakespeare's characters speak in soliloquies. This is when a character expresses private thoughts to the audience. Lear has just been turned out of the castle in the storm by his daughters, who have taken everything from him, including the clothes on his back. He is so angry he can't stand it any more. He tells us what he thinks:

Expert Answers

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Literary devices add meaning or value beyond the literal or factual meanings of words.

In this passage, Lear, who has been cast out into a storm by his ungrateful daughters, uses imagery to express how he is feeling. Imagery describes using the five senses of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell.

Lear uses imagery to create a metaphor, which is a comparison that does not use the words like or as. He has us imagine taking flight or running towards a raging sea. He says the prospect of plunging into such a wild sea (and we can visualize and hear such a sea in our imagination and perhaps even feel how cold it would be) is so bad that we would rather turn and fight a bear. Facing a bear is another scary image that we can visualize. Preferring to meet and fight a bear (the storm) to plunging into a raging ocean (dealing with his treacherous daughters) is a strong and vivid way to describe his dire situation. Lear is saying that being in a storm matters less than how he has been betrayed.

Lear uses another metaphor when he envisions the ingratitude of his daughters as like a mouth tearing or biting a hand for lifting food into it. He has given his daughters everything, and now they are trying to hurt him.

Another literary device in the passage is repetition. Lear repeats twice "In such a night" (to shut him out), adding emphasis to how horrible the weather is. Even so, it is nothing compared to his daughters' behavior.

Lear is highly upset and uses charged, vivid metaphors, images, and repetition to convey his intense emotional pain.

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