• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Symbolism/Imagery/Allegory in King Lear

Extracts from this document...


Symbolism/Imagery/Allegory in King Lear 1. The Storm (Imagery)ï 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 natureï presents the inner nature of human beings 2. 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. 3. 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. ...read more.


and his bad offspring (Edmund) ? Gloucester can't tell that Edmund has manipulated him into believing Edgar wants him dead. Later, Gloucester doesn't even recognize his son Edgar, who has disguised himself as "Poor Tom" the beggar. Eventually, Gloucester's eyeballs are plucked out, making his literal blindness symbolic of his inability to "see" the truth about his children. Finally, ?he is bound to a chair, plucked by the beard, his hair is ravished from his chin, and with his eyes blinded and bleeding, he is thrust out of the gates to smell his way to Dover?. 8. In King Lear, there's a whole lot of talk about literal vision and metaphorical blindness, especially when it comes to fathers "seeing" their children for who they really are. 9. When Lear mistakenly believes that Cordelia is disloyal and orders her "out of [his] sight," his pal, Kent, gives him the following advice: "See better, Lear" (1.1.14). In other words, Kent implies that Lear is "blind" to the fact Cordelia is the "good" daughter while Goneril and Regan are a couple of evil spawn. We can take this a step further by saying that the root of all Lear's problems is his lack of good judgment ? he foolishly divides his kingdom, stages a silly love test to determine which daughter cares for him the most, etc. ...read more.


Lear can't believe what he's hearing. "Nothing will come of nothing," he tells her. "Speak again." (In other words, you'll get absolutely nothing from me unless you speak up about how much you love me.) By the way, the phrase "Nothing can come of nothing" is a variation on the famous phrase "ex nihilo nihil fit" ? that's Latin for "from nothing, nothing comes," which is an ancient Greek philosophical and scientific expression. The word "nothing" shows up again in the play when the Fool tells Lear he is nothing without his crown and power: "now thou art an O without a figure. I am better than thou art now; I'm a fool, thou art nothing" (1.4.17). According to the Fool, King Lear is a zero and is no better than a "shealed peascod" (an empty peapod). The Fool also calls the retired king "Lear's shadow," which suggests that Lear, without his crown, is merely a shadow of his former self. The idea is that Lear, (whose status has changed since retirement) is nothing without his former power and title. To sum up, imagery plays an important part in King Lear. The play is a complex work and makes use of imagery effectively to convey the themes, and to give poignancy to the action. The disruption caused by Lear?s initial inability and refusal to ?see better? is reflected in the images of darkness, animalism, and disease. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    King Lear Passage Analysis Act IV, Scene 7 (lines 26 - 69)

    5 star(s)

    Lear, dressed in royal robes, has recovered his status in this extract as he is among people who revere and respect him. This creates much hope in the Elizabethan audience as there is now a semblance of order again. The portrayal of Cordelia as the paragon of virtue is reinforced

  2. In the famous play Macbeth, William Shakespeare stimulates the senses with both blood imagery ...

    / Still it cried, 'sleep no more;' to all the house: / 'Glamis hath murder'd sleep, and therefore Cawdor / Shall sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more!" (II.ii.35-44).Macbeth's haunting hallucinations strongly appeal to the sense of sound. He is unconsciously giving himself consequences thus emphasising the dominating power of Macbeth's guilt on his own mind.

  1. King Lear

    In my true heart I find she names my very deed of love...". Accepting Goneril and Regan's superficial flattery simply because they have played along is an error of judgment.

  2. King Lear Act 1 Scene 1 Analysis

    Even upon the threat of death by Lear in line 153 fails in its attempt to prevent Kent from giving proper advice. This can be regarded to show not just the persistently dedicated side of Kent but along with it, the fact that Kent will speak the truth regardless of any threats to his life.

  1. Comparative Essay Heart of Darkness vs Apocalyspe Now

    They are purposefully depicted by the director as marginally saner then the rest of the American Army, which is beset by madness. However, this leaves them only the option to die for not adapting to the climate, which they all do.

  2. Lord of the Flies Allegory Essay

    The reader feels that a great evil is represented through the Lord of the Flies and it quickly becomes the most defining symbol of the novel. Simon, converses with the beast and learns that the beast is not an external force.

  1. Topic: as a political allegory, Lord of the Flies is highly dependent upon the ...

    Cut his throat. Spill his blood.? (page 58) through the whole novel, unlike Ralph focuses on the signal fire. Jack gives himself into bloodlust and violence. The bloodlust takes him over him and becomes more and more in control of the group. He uses force and knowledge of others? fears to assume the control.

  2. Lord of the Flies Summary and Analysis of Chapters 7,8,9 and 10

    o Simon complicates the statement the novel makes about human beings. * He represents an alternative to the spectrum between civilization and savagery (of which Ralph and Jack are a part). * Simon is both natural and good in a world where such a combination seems impossible.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work