King Lear: act 3 scene 4 notes

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revision King Lear
Act 3 Scene 4 notes
Kent urges Lear to seek shelter but he is reluctant to do so but eventually agrees and
tells the fool to enter the hovel first but he rushes out frightened by Mad Tom who
is Edgar in disguise who speaks of being tormented by the devil to give the impression
that he is mad. gloucester arrives and Edgar is scared that he will recognise him so he
puts on a exaggerated display of madness. gloucester doesn't recognise Edgar and
tells Lear to go back with him; they eventually go into the hovel.
madness- Lear sees mad Tom as a reflection of himself and he talks to Tom like
he is a philosopher showing he is confused. mad Tom pretends to be mad but he
is more sane than Lear.
disguise- Edgar is in disguise as Mad Tom to hide from his father and brother
suffering- Lear sees mad Tom suffer with cold and his madness and he realises
how little he has cared for the poor in the past.
kent- loyal to Lear and is trying to make him see sense
Gloucester- loyal to Lear and is fooled by Edgar's disguise
Edgar- disguised as Mad Tom fearful of being discovered when Gloucester
appear. pretends to be mad but is one of the most sane characters of the play.
language features
"Tempest in my mind" metaphor Lear uses to compare his emotions to that of a
storm. tempest has connotations of chaos and evil which suggests Lear is very
confused reflecting his madness and that he feels he is not in control anymore.
this metaphor also links with the semantic field of weather.
lear has the longest turns and speaks in longer sentences however this doesn't
show his power anymore as it now shows his fits of madness and confusion
where his speech becomes disorganised.
edgar speaks in third person when talking about himself which shows a loss of
personality in order to convince Lear and the fool that he is mad. "Tom's a
cold" "Do poor Tome some charity."
dramatic irony throughout the scene as Edgar's disguised as mad Tom and none
of the characters recognise his real identity. the audience know that Edgar
isn't really mad but Lear is which gives the audience two pictures of what
madness is.


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