King Lear Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What are examples of figurative language used in Act III, Scene 2 of King Lear?

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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...

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