The Tempest In Lear Essay Research Paper

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The Tempest In Lear Essay, Research Paper In Act 3, scene 4, Shakespeare utilizes the ominous storm pounding down upon the suffering Lear in order to elucidate the storm which actually affects Lear the greatest–the internal storm caused by the ingratitude shown by his daughters Regan and Goneril. Prior to Lear’s speech, Kent urges the King to enter a nearby hovel for the purpose of protecting himself from the seemingly unbearable storm. The tempest in Lear’s mind, however, is revealed as a greater concern than the storm on the outside. Lear is so fixated on his daughters’ ingratitude that he scarcely feels the effects of the harsh environmental elements crashing down upon him. He then gives a metaphorical speech to Kent, and he declines to enter the hovel while urging

both Kent and the fool inside. The speech given by Lear before he implores Kent to enter the hovel is a major component in the development of the scene, as a whole, as it cleverly exhibits, through various poetic devices, both the mental situation of Lear and the progression of the play’s plot. A particular rhetorical device Shakespeare uses to manipulate Lear’s speech is syntax and rhythmic deviation. Lear commences his speech using an almost natural rhythm in which he speaks in long, smooth sentences: “Thou think’st ‘tis much that this contentious storm Invades us to the skin….” ( lines 6-7) However, it becomes quite evident to the reader when Lear begins focusing more and more on the tempest inside his mind–the storm that he feels the greatest effects of. His

speech thus becomes marked by heavy separations. His sentences become increasingly choppy, as they are marked by intense punctuation: “Save what beats here. Filial ingratitude!” (line 14). This syntax and deviation of rhythm is indicative of Lear’s attitude that his internal tempest is of much greater concern than the harsh storm on the outside. While he scarcely feels the latter, he cannot avoid feeling the full affects of the former. The definite shift in syntax underscores the truism that the harshness of the environment correlates to the ingratitude Lear’s daughters have shown towards him. The short, choppy nature of Lear’s language also indicates his inability to think complete, coherent thoughts while his mind is essentially battered by an internal tempest. The

harsh “s” sound filtered throughout Lear’s speech further verifies his inner turmoil over the fact that his daughters show a diminutive amount of gratitude towards him despite his providing endlessly for them. The “s” sound in this case serves as a cacophony. It is especially effective as the reader can almost hear the crashing of waves and the howling of wind within Lear’s mind. Thou think’st much that this contentious storm Invades us to the skin. So ‘tis to thee…(lines 6-7) Lear’s speech in Act 3, scene 4 also has a distinctive metaphorical air to it and is accompanied by definite examples of Shakespeare’s lucid imagery. “Thou’dst shun a bear, But if thy flight lay toward the roaring sea Thou’dst meet the bear in the mouth” (lines 8-10). The

preceding citation is clearly characteristic of the principal theme encompassed in Lear’s speech–that the environmental storm is less daunting than the disturbance within Lear’s own mind. If one is being tracked down by a bear, they will naturally run. But, if they are running towards a roaring sea, they have little choice but to face the bear since they will have no chance to survive the sea. The bear here is being compared to the harsh storm that Lear rarely feels and the roaring sea is being compared to his internal tempest. Not only does this set of lines capture a vivid image in the reader’s mind, but it also serves as a metaphorical comparison between Lear’s mind (the subject of more concern) and the storm (the lesser of the “two evils”). Another powerful