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Act III - King Lear

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In Act iii of King Lear, it had became very apparent that Edgar had expressed madness in his speeches, but this madness can actually show a great deal of insight and wisdom. Edgar is not actually mad, he is appearing as Poor Tom and pretending to be poor to avoid being captured from his father, Gloucester. Edgar’s words of wisdom can be seen when he said, “Who gives anything to Poor Tom? Whom the foul fiend hath led through fire and through flame, through ford and whirlpool, o’er bog and quagmire…” (Act 3. Scene 4. 50-53). Egar is starting to question the format of the world and is pretending to be upset about the world. King Lear and Gloucester could not see that it was Edgar in disguise. He started feeling sympathy for Edgar when he said, “Poor Tom’s a-cold.” (Act 3. Scene 4. 136). Edgar’s plan is working and is now becoming closer with the King, as he starts to call Edgar, “my philosopher” (Act 3. Scene 4. 165) and asks Edgar to tag along with them. Edgar’s act of madness in this scene prevents him from being captured and gets him closer with Lear.

Edgar was not the only one to express madness, King Lear had also had a great insight of madness. An example of King Lear’s madness can be seen through his speech when he said, “Is man no more that this? Thou ow’st the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep no wool, the cat no perfume.” (Act 3. Scene 4. 101-103). Lear is asking questions about who a man truly is. During the storm King Lear was upset and yelled up at it saying, “You sulfurous and thought-executing fires, Vaunt-couriers of oak-cleaving thunderbolts, singe my white head.” (Act 3. Scene 2. 4-6). Lear is asking the storm to cause chaos and to get rid of all the ungrateful humans. Lear is angry at his daughters and attained knowledge from the Fool, and realized, “this tempest in my mind, Doth from my senses take all the feeling else.” (Act 3. Scene 4. 12-13). Lear is starting to understand that nothing is being done to the poor and if the people that were rich would give to the poor, the poor people would be more kind and generous to the rich. King Lear’s madness was seen throughout his speeches in Act iii.

Along with Edgar and King Lear, the Fool was also one to show madness in the play. In Act iii, the Fool was close with King Lear and would advise him when he said, “He that has a house to put’s head in has a good headpiece” (Act 3.Scene 2. 25-26). He wanted the King to get to a safe place in the stormy weather.Throughout this Act, the Fool is losing his role with King Lear, as Poor Tom is taking over his role as an mentor. When the Fool saw Poor Tom with King Lear, he said, “This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.” (Act 3. Scene 4. 77). The Fool is getting mad because his role of advisor for King Lear is vanishing. The fool continued to mentor the advisor as the scene went on,



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