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King Lear Analysis

1468 words - 6 pages

Thou think’st ‘tis much that this contentious storm
Invades us to the skin. So ‘tis to thee.
But where the greater malady is fixed
The lesser is scarce felt. Thou’dst shun a bear,
10 But if thy flight lay toward the raging sea
Thou’dst meet the bear i’ th’ mouth. When the mind’s free,
The body’s delicate. The tempest in my mind
Doth from my senses take all feeling else
Save what beats there—filial ingratitude.
15 Is it not as this mouth should tear this hand
For lifting food to ‘t? But I will punish home.
No, I will weep no more. In such a night
To shut me out! Pour on, I will endure.
In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril,
20 Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave ...view middle of the document...

In this way, the storm imagery amplifies Lear’s misery by depicting how the internal anguish outweighs the transitory discomfort in Lear’s mind as he realizes how his vanity led to his utter rejection and hopeless situation. Additionally, these realizations result in mixed feelings, as such a deep invasion of sorrow suggests both sympathy for Lear’s current tribulation and a sense retribution for his past futility and lack of self-awareness. In a like manner, the inner-battle with which Hamlet struggles evokes commiseration with the troubled character, while also provoking a feeling of due justice as he brings about his own destruction. Furthermore, in response to this misery he experiences, Lear determines to “endure” and exhibit his tenacity by “[weeping] no more” and resolving to “punish home.” Here, the strength of the words themselves provides significant insight to the passion behind their utterance. While the intensity of the diction shows the first true sign of determination from Lear, it more importantly relates to the circumstances which cause him to show this determination. Yes, Lear resolves to endure the suffering, but that decision itself testifies to the true aguish Lear feels. The weeping as well as the urge to persist comes from deep within his soul and vividly demonstrate the pain resulting from his lack of discernment concerning his daughters. In the same manner, while one gains knowledge through experience, humanity too often allows tragedy and tempests to torment and destroy in order to relay insight.
The use of prosody containing iambic pentameter, blank verse conveys a feeling of angst as the irregularities in the text and harshness of sounds magnify Lear’s suffering and indicate a change in mental fortitude. For example, the dactyl which follows the two troches in “Save what beats there. / Filial ingratitude,” interrupts the iambic pentameter, thus signifying its importance to the passage. Creating the illusion that the author or orator made a mistake in the line, the audience automatically focuses on that phrase. Intentionally set apart by the irregular feet, the phrase relays the gravity of this concept of severing the parent-child bond and the devastating consequences which result. In relation to the preceding description of Lear’s pain, the concept of breaking this bond indicates Lear’s awareness of the injustice done and proves this awareness as the source of his grief. In following, Dame Fortune spins her wheel as the bitterness Lear experiences proves strong enough to provoke a dramatic change in Lear’s attitude. To signify this shift of outlook, the dash in “—Oh, that way madness lies” again interrupts the flow of the rhythm, drawing attention to its incursion. Cutting short Lear’s deliberation and providing the climax of the play, the pause allows the audience to fully capture the transformation which occurs on either side of it. Preceding, Lear sulks in the misery of his hopelessness, but following, he...

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