King Lear

King Lear


William Shakespeare

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King Lear: Act 3, scene 2 Summary & Analysis

Read our modern English translation of this scene.
Lear rages out in the storm, calling upon it to "crack nature's molds" and destroy everything "that makes ingrateful man" (3.1.10-11), while the Fool urges him, in vain, to find shelter. "Here I stand your slave/ A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man" (21-2), Lear raves. When Kent arrives on the scene, directing Lear to a hovel that he has found, Lear finally relents, remarking that "the art of our necessities is strange/ and can make vile things precious" (76-7). As they enter, the Fool predicts that they are at the beginning of an era in which the "realm of Albion" (i.e. England) will "come to great confusion" (98-9).
No longer appealing to the divine or natural powers of the heavens to guarantee order, Lear calls upon the storm to produce maximum disorder, stripping the world of unjust human authority and pretenses and laying things bare as they are. He reveals himself in something like the animal terms of "unburdened crawl toward death" (1.1): "a poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man."
Authority and Order Theme Icon
Disintegration, Chaos, Nothingness Theme Icon
Old Age Theme Icon
Fooling and Madness Theme Icon
Blindness and Insight Theme Icon
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