Symbolism/Imagery/Allegory in King Lear
* The Storm (Imagery)Pathetic Fallacy: By acting irresponsibility, Lear as a King and then as a father causes a universal upheaval in the order of the universe. This upheaval is reflected and reinforced by the use of imagery (Pathetic Fallacy). The storm is a part of the universal disorder and is presented in a very artistic manner. The storm is significant as it stands for external as well as internal human naturepresents the inner nature of human beings * In Act 3, Lear rushes from a fight with his daughters into a raging thunderstorm. The combination of thunder and lightning is pretty much what is going on inside Lear's mind, from his fury at his daughters to his impending madness. At one point, Lear admits there's a "tempest in [his] mind" that's not unlike the storm that rages on the heath (3.4.4.). In other words, the literal storm on the heath is a pretty accurate reflection of Lear's psychological state. * One can argue that the storm parallels Britain's fall into political chaos. Remember, Lear has divided his kingdom, civil war is brewing, and the King (Lear) is being treated pretty shabbily by his daughters and some of his other subjects. Alternatively, the powerful storm in which Lear gets caught up is a dramatic demonstration of the fact that all humans, even kings, are completely vulnerable to overpowering forces like nature. * The beasts (Imagery): The bestial images and the images of darkness also convey the impression of disorder in the universe. The bestial/animal imagery is partly designed to show man’s place in the chain of being, and bring out the sub-human nature of evil character. It is also used to show man’s weakness compared with animals’ and partly to compare man’s life to the life of the jungle. Because of the bad behaviour of Goneril and Regan, Lear hates them and calls them worse than monsters “More hideous when thou show’st theeln a child than sea monster.” Then turning to...
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