King Lear

The Significance of the Storm to King Lear

In Shakespeare's tragedy “King Lear,” Lear, king of England, surrenders all of this power to his daughters as a reward for their demonstration of love towards him. This untimely abdication of his throne results in a chain reaction of events that lead to tragedy. In one classic scene, Lear’s “pernicious” daughters have abused him and sent him out to the heath in a storm. This major theme of this passage is that of the natural and unnatural.

Lear’s mood matches the intensity of nature’s turbulence as he rages against his daughters’ abusive treatment. Lear is trying to face down the powers of nature, an attempt that seems to indicate both his despair and his increasingly confused sense of reality. Both of these strains appear in Lear’s famous speech to the storm, in which he commands, “Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow! / You cataracts and hurricanes, spout / Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks!”. Lear’s attempt to speak to the storm suggests that he has lost touch with the natural world and his relation to it— or at least, that he has lost touch with the ordinary human understanding of nature. In a sense, though, his outburst against the weather embodies one of the central questions posed by...

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