In this emotionally intense scene, Shakespeare has Lear uses pathetic fallacy, the literary device of allowing weather or nature to reflect an emotional state. In the opening, Lear perceives a storm as mirroring his own mood of rage and despair. He says:
Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow!
The storm's rage blows just as Lear's rage does. He wants the storm to "smite flat" the round world—just as he wishes he had the power to do.
Lear also uses hyperbole or exaggeration as he addresses the storm. He extorts it to be more powerful than it is ever likely to be. He wants the rain to come down so hard that it "drown[s]" the weathervanes at the tip top of buildings: he wants the world, which has betrayed him, submerged in a deluge.
Shakespeare also uses exclamation to express the intensity of Lear's emotions as he cries:
Rumble thy bellyful! Spit, fire! Spout, rain!
The exclamation points emphasize that Lear is shouting at the weather and is in a highly emotional state.
Shakespeare also shows Lear's heightened emotion through rhyme. "Toe" and "woe" and "make" and "wake" rhyme in the following passage. Lear is speaking from the heart:
The man that makes his toe
What he his heart should make
Shall of a corn cry woe,
And turn his sleep to wake.
Shakespeare employs imagery
as well to convey the violence of the storm Lear encounters. We need to remember that the audience would be watching a staged play without sophisticated equipment to simulate a storm, so Lear must paint the scene using words to help us visualize what nature looks like at this moment. He uses vivid language to do so, describing a storm so violent that animals are afraid to come out of their caves. We see lightning as sheets of fire and hear the thunder bursting and the wind groaning:
The wrathful skies
Gallow [frighten] the very wanderers of the dark
And make them keep their caves. Since I was man,
Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
Such groans of roaring wind and rain I never
Remember to have heard.