Fool and Lear

Lesson 8 Key Question In act III of King Lear the apparent madness expressed in the speeches of Lear, the Fool and Edgar actually contain a great deal of wisdom and insight. Before giving away this kingdom, Lear was sheltered from everything. Now, after giving away his precious kingdom to his two daughters and having everything go completely wrong, Lear is left with nothing and now has to experience life with all of its natural terrors. At the beginning of scene 2, Lear is screaming at nature, like a mad man, to hit him with everything it’s got. “Rage! Blow!

You cataracts and hurricanes, spout till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks! ” (3. 2. 1-3). Lear seems to be going mad at this point but he is testing nature’s strength to seeing what it throws at him. The effects of nature on Lear real help him realize what a person`s needs really are. “The art of our necessities is strange, that can make vile things precious” (3. 2. 70-71). Lear’s madness has helped him realize what an individual needs in order to survive when left with nothing. From this point onward Lear is never the same, he will keep getting stronger mentally.

The suffering he goes throw leads him to greater insight. In scene 4, the storm continues and Lear is standing right in the middle of it. “In such at night to shut me out! Pour on; I will endure. In such a night like this! O Regan, Goneril! Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all! O, that way madness lies; let me shun that! No more of that. ” (3. 4. 17-22). This shows madness, but also a great deal of wisdom and insight because he will not let his two evil daughters’ defeat him and his actions at this point are only making him stronger.

Edgar’s madness is much different than King Lear’s. Edgar is pretending to be mad in order to avoid being caught and executed at the hands of his father, Gloucester. Edgar screams, “Fathom and half, fathom and half! ” (3. 4. 37), when the Fool finds him in the shelter. Edgar shows wisdom here because he uses the call of the sailor sound, which is made to sound the depth of water in the hold of a sinking ship. This is something totally irrelevant to say in this situation and just makes Edgar look that much madder. Edgar also says lots of random things at random time.

For example, “Pillicock sat on Pillicock Hill. Alow, alow, loo, loo! (3. 4. 75). Edgar is always in control of his madness and these random outbursts make the people around him think he really is mad and insane when he is not. “The foul fiend haunts poor Tom in the voice of a nightingale. Hoppedance cries in Tom’s belly for two white herring. Croak not, black angel; I have no food for thee. ” (3. 6. 30-33). Edgar or “Poor Tom’s” conception of the world contains nothing but devils, death, punishment, raunchy sex, wickedness, lechery, and a debase state of nature.

Just like Lear, Edgar must also completely change how he thinks and acts if he wants to survive in this fallen world. Acting crazy and insane shows wisdom in Edgar because he is doing want ever it takes to survive. In Act III, the Fool continues to advise Lear and he stays by his side in the pelting storm and reminds Lear to use common sense. “He that has a house to put’s head in has a good headpiece. ” (3. 2. 25-26). With all the madness and insanity that is going on at this point in the play, the Fool still manages to talk with a great deal of wisdom and insight. He also makes Lear aware of his fallen state. He that has and a little tiny wit, with heigh-ho, the wind and the rain, must make content with his fortunes fit, though the rain it raineth every day. ” (3. 2. 74-77). The Fool still manages to speak and sing with great deal of wisdom and insight. His speech makes Lear realize he must be content with whatever fortune brings and therefore Lear understands he must go and get shelter in the hovel. After the Fool has discovered Edgar or “Poor Tom” in the hovel he says “this cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen. ” (3. 4. 77). The Fool believes the storm has driven Edgar insane and doesn’t want the same to happen to him and Lear.

The Fool always talks with a great deal of wisdom and insight and help Lear clear his head. He also helps Lear realize what it takes to survive when left with nothing. Support Question 11 Character| Scene iv| Edgar (Poor Tom)| “Fathom and half, fathom and half! ” (3. 4. 37)“Pillicock sat on Pillicock Hill. Alow, alow, loo, loo! (3. 4. 75). – Edgar is always in control of his madness and these random outbursts make the people around him think he really is mad and insane when he is not. | King Lear| “In such at night to shut me out! Pour on; I will endure. In such a night like this! O Regan, Goneril!

Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all! O, that way madness lies; let me shun that! No more of that. ” (3. 4. 17-22). – This shows madness, but also a great deal of wisdom and insight because he will not let his two evil daughters’ defeat him and his actions at this point are only making him stronger. | The Fool| “This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen. ” (3. 4. 77)The fool always speaks with a great deal of wisdom and insight and helps Lear realize what he should be doing. The fool also helps Lear clear his head and realize what it takes to survive. | Character| Scene vi|

Edgar (Poor Tom)| “The foul fiend haunts poor Tom in the voice of a nightingale. Hoppedance cries in Tom’s belly for two white herring. Croak not, black angel; I have no food for thee. ” 30-33-makes people around him think he is insane when he really isn’t. | King Lear| “Stop her there! Arms, arms! Sword! Fire! Corruption in the place! ” 54-55-Lear goes crazy and starts swinging his sword and arms pretending to hit Goneril| The Fool| “ Her boat hath a leak, and she must not speak why she dares not come over to thee” 27-29The fool implies that Goneril and Regan have a weakness and is not a sound one. |