What is the role of nature in Shakespeare's King Lear? Can someone provide any textual evidence, please? Nature metaphors (weather mirroring the state of mind etc) are quite straightforward to deduct from the play. Next to that you also have the nature of the characters (as in good and evil) and whether they act naturally or unnaturally (in accordance to nature, eg. Cordelia or not, eg. Lear, Edmund etc). Also, characters such as Lear and Gloucester in a way leave everything up to/rely on this higher natural power (the stars etc.), in order to justify their actions. So, what might be an explanation which elaborates on the less straightforward function of nature in the play?

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In the Elizabethan Age, the idea of world order is essential. This Chain of Being is essential to the structure of Shakespeare's dramas, the psychology of his personages, the "imagery that informs their speeches, and the fates they must confront." When this Chain of Being is disrupted, chaos occurs. In Act I Edmund speaks of his half-brother in a speech of much foreboding,

...his is the excellent foppery of the world,
that, when we are sick in fortune—often the surfeit
of our own behavior,—we make guilty of our disasters
the sun, the moon, and the stars: as if we were villains
by necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves,
thieves, and treachers, by spherical predominance; (1.2.114-119)

In Act III, this interconnection through the Chain of Being of disruption of the order of Lear's family and the "foul weather" is illustrated as ridicule of "the little world of man," but, at the same time, it reflects the human world, mirroring  the "division" in the kingdom. Thus, when Lear's...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 941 words.)

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