From King Lear, explain the meanings to "Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks. Rage! Blow!"

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a couple of layers to meaning in the lines that help to establish the second scene of the Third Act.  The reality that has dawned upon Lear is that he is no longer the power broker that he once saw himself to be.  Rather, he is a political tool being manipulated by his two daughters as they seek to "rage" and ravage through his political empire.  The lines that Lear utters help to bring about Lear's own transformation in power.  As opposed to the powerful image at the start of the drama, Lear recognizes his diminishing power.  In this, the lines bring out the idea that the power of the storm is something that can prove to be overwhelming to Lear.  At the same time, a theory of correspondence between the actions of the characters and the weather conditions is evident in the lines.  Lear invokes the power of the destructive storm to bring out how the danger in human actions is evident.  The invocation of the storm is a dramatic device in which Shakespeare foreshadows the destructive actions of the human beings.  The "crack" of cheeks as well as the command of "Rage" and "Blow" help to emphasize how there is to be some level of destruction wrought at the hands of human beings to be evident.  In this, the lines help to demonstrate Lear's own predicament of emerging powerlessness and the moral abyss that the characters are about to enter.