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Passage Of The Storm In King Lear Act Iii

1019 words - 4 pages

The techniques employed by William Shakespeare enhance a feeling of not only acrimonious irresolution but also of dithering misery. In shunning Cordelia, Lear generates a disruption in the great chain of being, causing both imbalance in his own mind and subsequent anguish upon himself. Feelings of both frustration with Lear and a sympathy for him inevitably come over the reader as they try to understand what Lear is suffering. Lear finds himself in a place of indecisiveness as he tries to decide the action to take in his tormenting situation. Vacillating between wanting to punish his daughters and desiring to forget about his circumstance, a tempest has begun to brew in his mind.Shakespeare's use of both storm and animal imagery helps to develop the feeling of the unresolved desolation that Lear is suffering. As Lear roams about a desolate heath, a dreadful storm, powerfully but ambiguously symbolic seethes overhead. Amidst a "contentious storm", there is also a "tempest in [Lear's] mind," that is in actuality worse than the elements he is forced to undergo. The storm, a physical, tumultuous, natural reflection of Lear's internal confusion, portrays his inner chaos and increasing madness. At the same time, the storm also symbolizes the overwhelming power of nature, which forces the helpless and incapable king to recognize his own mortality and human frailty and to develop a sense of humility, a trait he has never possessed before. Lear determines in his mind, that he would "meet the bear," of the physical storm before confronting the "filial ingratitude," of his daughters. Although the physical storm, what the bear symbolizes, it ferocious, wild, and untamed, Lear feels as if he has the option to go inside and receive shelter from it. However, there is nothing he can co to escape the ever increasing havoc inside of him. After having given away his title as king, the great chain of being has been broken, and for once Lear is not in control. He has fallen off a cliff, and there is nothing he can do to stop himself from hitting the ground.The prosody using iambic pentameter like verse enhances the feeling of anguished fluctuation. In shunning Cordelia, Lear has broken the parental bond, and after having given away his title as king, he no longer has power to reconcile with her. The torment in his mind is exposed by the alliteration in, "Thou think'st tis much that this..." which is then combined with the consonance of the "t" in the words "contentious storm," to make up the first line of the passage. Shakespeare uses these literary elements to accentuate the suffering inside of Lear because of his decisions. Lear has been vastly foolish in giving his lands to Goneril and Reagan instead of the daughter that truly loved him, Cordelia. The infringement of this parental bond is emphasized by the violation of his normal iambic structure when a dactyl is used to stress the word "filial" when describing his daughters' ingratitude. Lear is so completely...

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