Rain, Rain, Go Away

                      Throughout this play we have seen King Lear’s mind slowly deteriorating. Act 3, Scene 2 might be the beginning of his breaking point. King Lear is standing with his fool in a very dangerous storm screaming at the sky saying “Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!/You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout/Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks”(3.2.3-5).  He yells at the storm saying he deserves to be struck by lightning because of how he treated his daughter, Cordelia. The storm, symbolic of the psychological turbulence inside Lear’s mind, he says is not at fault for “I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness;/I never gave you kingdom, call’d you children” (3.2.15-16). King Lear pities himself saying “I am a man/ More sinn’d against than sinning”(3.2.49-50).  

               As the fool and Kent try to coax King Lear to shelter, Lear struggles with them until he finally admits that he is going crazy saying “My wits begin to turn” (3.2.59). He has a moment of compassion though, looking at his fool, standing cold in the storm and says “Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart/ That’s sorry yet for thee” (3.2.64-65). In Act 3, Scene 4, Lear, although previously said he would go with them inside, refuses. He protests with “Let me alone” and blames Goneril and Regan (3.4.6). “To shut me out! Pour on; I will endure./ In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril! / Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all,–“ (3.4.22-24). His mind wanders to feeling pity for himself then to the poor. He constantly blames his daughters and feels terrible about banishing Cordelia.

               It is interesting to see the dialogue between King Lear and the disguised Edgar as Poor Tom. We can see King Lear as truly crazy in comparison to Edgar who is just acting. King Lear actually goes along with him and feels bad for him. It is thought-provoking that even though Lear is King, he is vulnerable to the storm. He cannot command it to stop like he usually would. I think this scene further illustrates how human the King actually is. He is powerless against the storm and against his daughters. His fate has turned because he gave up his power. Will there be anyway to stop the storm inside his head and get his power back?


3 thoughts on “Rain, Rain, Go Away

  1. ShaynaGreenspan

    I agree with you that King Lear does seem to act crazy the further we read. His vulnerability poses many questions to me. Does every king/person in power always have to fall to some sort of weakness? For example, in every one of William Shakespeare’s work does the king have to fall to illness, loss of power, etc? Also, the dialogue between King Lear and Edgar (Poor Tom) poses another question; is Poor Tom supposed to mirror King Lear as a person? I don’t think there is any way to stop King Lear’s dissipating power, because he already has given up his power by dividing his “things” which seem to be upmost importance to him. Without his monetary “things” and without all of his daughters putting him on a pedestal, he is slowly losing his power. Even though two of his daughters still tell him what he needs to hear to feel powerful, there is no telling how long that will last. King Lear seems as if he is slowly losing parts of himself, and starting to lose his mind in the process. It seems that power equals (more) sanity for King Lear, so without power, he is slowly turning more irrational than he was before.

  2. alexatirapelli

    I was really interested in your point about the parallel between the storm and Lear’s “psychological turbulence”. I didn’t even really think much about it until now. Your use of textual evidence here really helped me to, well, contextualize your points. Lear’s guilt and unease is so prominent in his dramatic dialogue of act 3 scene 2. In the beginning he also tells the storm to “Crack nature’s molds, all germens spill at once /
    That make ingrateful man!”, which seems to be him cursing himself-asking the natural world to take pity on him by punishing him and all those men out there who have made equal mistakes. Interesting. It is sort of ironic that he is blaming his other daughters though, because wouldn’t he end up doing the same to them that he did to Cordelia by doing this?

  3. lauriegrl14

    I agree, I think the raging storm was an important turning point for King Lear. The fact that he would rather brave the natural elements of the storm then his ungrateful daughters expresses to me he understands the cruel mistake he made previously when forsaking his daughter Cordelia, the one who truly loves him. Its ironic that he is being treated in the same way that he treated Cordelia and even Kent, by the Goneril and Regan.


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