Nature in King Lear

Topics: William Shakespeare, Tragedy, Weather Pages: 2 (538 words) Published: March 3, 2013
Nature, by definition, has many meanings. Ranging from the inherent character within a person to the physical conditions of life, nature takes on many meanings depending on the context. In King Lear by William Shakespeare, it is not a word that is tossed around lightly. It is an intricate, powerful word, placed carefully nearly forty times within the tragedy that represents how each character uses the word in ways to express the past, present, and future.

Nearly every character in the novel uses the word nature, most often describing the situation of things, usually by people of higher authority in the kingdom. They speak of nature as if a fixed timeline. Within the context of these sentences, each character suggests that everything will balance out and things will go everyone's way. For example, Lear addresses the God's, "It may be so, my lord. Hear, nature, hear; dear goddess, hear! Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend, To make this creature fruitful!". This quote represents the general idea centered around the idea of fate, representing Lear's nature of his own ignorant personality, thinking his greedy personality will be outweighed by the fate of the God's who watch over them.

As mentioned, the context of nature can differ, especially when looking into greater meaning when analyzing the novel. Early in the play, Gloucester says "These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend, no good to us: though the wisdom of nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself scourged by the sequent effects". This early foreshadow to later on in the book further demonstrates the nature of fate and more specifically, as seen with the quote, compares fate to the weather. Weather is an inevitable factor. If no clouds are in sight, the sun will shine. If dark clouds are ahead, a storm is coming. The later situation is about to occur on Lear and his people.

This can be further exemplified in the later scene with Lear in the storm, where he shouts "Crack...
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