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Dramatic Scene Illustrated In Shakespeare's King Lear Storm Scene

908 words - 4 pages

Shakespeare’s King Lear offers its audience an impossible number of dramatic and memorable scenes, but I have chosen the storm scenes in Act III Scenes 1, 2 and 4 as my key dramatic scenes. The storm provides a dramatic centre to the play. It is used to bring about change, to represent Lear’s inner unrest, to symbolise the power of nature and to expose the play’s characters under the intolerant conditions of thunder and lightning.
The scenes in which the storm takes place are very different to those which precede and follow them. Lear’s sudden change, from the regal world he has been sheltered by to the raging elements of nature, can certainly be described as dramatic. Before his transition to the wild heath, we have known Lear as a hubristic, foolish and “despised old man”. Now, ousted by his own daughters into the wind and rain, Lear becomes wild and inconsolable. Left to contend with the “fretful elements”, he begins on a journey of self-discovery and insight. Ultimately, this brings about a change in his character, and the storm is the catalyst for this transformation. For the audience, watching Lear move from an egotistical, irrational king to a man who begins to see “reason in madness” is definitely dramatic. Out in the open and freed from the constraints of other humans, the change in Lear is evident. Before the storm, he is considered divine, the highest of power in England and one to be feared. However, nature cannot differentiate man on basis of status and position, and such is Lear’s realisation as he rages through the storm. Lear begins to understand his “mortality” and his responsibility as king. He sees the inequality in his kingdom and rages against “crimes unwhipp’d of justice”. He learns compassion for others and shame for his sins. This is undoubtedly a dramatic change for the selfish king.
The storm is the perfect dramatic representation of the king’s inner turmoil. His emotions are raw – we see him dramatically swing from “high rage”, to grief, to despair and to remorse. Language has important dramatic significance in the storm scenes. Lear’s speech becomes more and more disordered and dramatic as he struggles with the “tempest” in his mind. It is littered with punctuation and exclamations, reflecting the chaos of the storm and his own agitation. He no longer speaks with purpose, at a measured and regal pace. He indulges in long, rambling monologues which are a reflection of his self-searching and self-discovery. He cries out “blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!” personifying the storm as an ally in desperation. Raging as the storm does, he becomes wilder and wilder as his...

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