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What changes do you notice in the presentation of Lear in act 3 scene 4?

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English Coursework What changes do you notice in the presentation of Lear in act 3 scene 4? Shakespeare's play King Lear shows Kings Lear's decent into madness but also his growth in spiritual awareness, and in a sense the suffering that Lear goes through in the play is redemptive, and helps him to become Lear the man, rather than Lear the king. Therefore Act 3 scene 4 is very important to the play as in this scene we see Lear's madness and his growth in spiritual awareness and his new understanding of the world, often at the same time. In this scene 4 major incidents occur, firstly lear refuses to take shelter from the storm and then tells his servants to go in before him, he then meets Edgar disguised as mad beggar poor tom and finally lear dramatically sheds himself of his clothes. Lear's actions during these incidents are open to interpretation by the audience as often lear is presented as many things I.e. stubborn, childish, mad or considerate and understanding, at the same time. These incidents and the way in which lear is presented in them are very important to the play as a whole. In this scene we see Lear's decent into madness, which is brought on by many different things, one of the reasons for Lear's deepening madness could be that now lear is no longer king he can no longer get everything that he wants "who is it who can tell me who I am (1.4)" ...read more.


Firstly lear tells his servants to go into the shelter before him "go in thyself; seek thine own ease" and this is one of the first acts of selflessness and compassion that we see from him. Although Lear's behaviour may seem like the actions of a mad man we can see that he is becoming more sympathetic towards others and thinking new thoughts "o I have taken to little care of this! Take physic, pomp. Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel" now Lear is poor and homeless he is realising that people truly live this way and it is a huge shock for him, he realises he should have helped them when he was king, and perhaps he now wants to suffer for his mistakes. Lear is now starting to reflect on his own experiences and realise that they are therapeutic for him. At the start of the play Lear is isolated and often talks to himself, but when he goes onto the plain and joins the beggars in the hovel he is perhaps joining the real world, which he had never experienced before. Lear then meets Edgar disguised as the mad beggar poor tom, this is very ironic as lear has just been talking about homeless beggars, it is also ironic as just as lear is perhaps starting to come to his senses he meets 'mad' poor tom, which could make his situation worse. ...read more.


There is already considerably dramatic tension in this scene, and then this is heightened by the arrival of Gloucester. Edgar immediately acts more mad so that his father does not recognize him. The arrival of Gloucester also brings the main plot and the sub plot together even further, both lear and Gloucester are having problems with their children "I am almost mad myself" and this is very ironic. Also edgar overhears this and it makes him more determined to hide himself from his father. In conclusion lear is presented as being many things in the scene, mad, stubborn and often as being very child-like with Kent as the concerned parent "no words, no words: hush". However in this scene we also start to see that lear is forming a new understanding and growing in spiritual awareness and is starting his transformation from lear the king to lear the man. Also in Grigori Kozintsev's Russian production of King Lear there is an interval after he leaves the castle, this is perhaps a way of emphasizing the change between the old and the new Lear. This scene is the starting point for Lear's growth in spiritual awareness but also his growth in madness. Apart from the mock trial in 3.6 lear isn't present in the play until 4.7 where his madness reaches its climax, however through this lear is perhaps seeing the world in a new, more knowledgeable and understanding way. Jenni Marshall 12BNB Total word count: 1784 ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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