• 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...

Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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. Comparative Essay Heart of Darkness vs Apocalyspe Now

    Kurtz lacked restraint in the gratification of his various lusts" Conrad, 53), showing how he has succumbed to the climate of the jungle. When he is sick, he is resisting the climate and is able to show the "grave, profound, vibrating [voice]" (Conrad, 55)

  2. King Lear Act 1 Scene 1 Analysis

    Thus the shift of tone from words such as 'royal' to 'thy' marks the just nature of Kent's character who would assert the truth even on the pain of death and therefore shows Kent's courage. Another example of this can be seen when Kent says 'thou swear'st thy gods in

  1. Irony of madness and wisdom in King Lear

    Although the fool blatantly calls the King a fool for giving up his land, Lear mildly responds with, "Does thou call me fool, boy?" Another example of the Fool's wisdom is when he gives these words of advice to Lear: "Have more than thou showest, Speak less than thou knowest,

  2. Oral Commentary and Analysis: King Lear Act 4 Scene 6

    Consequently, Lear's opposition carries him to a state of incoherence as he leaves the original verse form of his speech, iambic pentameter, and spits out the words, "Fie, Fie, Fie!

  1. Discuss the Character Development of Goneril and Regan.

    Think of Lear's knights as out of control party boys ? breaking her furniture and harassing Goneril's female servants. When Lear loses his composure and prays to the gods that she won't be able to have children for criticizing his entourage and telling him to leave, it looks like he's the one being unreasonable, not Goneril.

  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.

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