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Essay on Edgar’s role in King Lear, Act 3, Scene 4

Edgar’s role in King Lear, Act 3, Scene 4

In Act 3, Scene 4, Edgar takes on the roles of a madman, and a spirit. In counterfeiting madness, he not only hides from an unjust death, but also serves as a character that resembles King Lear: (1) Both are deceived by family; (2) Both are outcasts of Gloucester’s castle; (3) Both are threatened with death; and (4) Both enter into a form of madness. But, whereas King Lear actually becomes mad, Edgar only feigns madness. As Edgar takes the role of a “spirit” (3.4.39), he reveals: (1) Edmund’s moral condition, by prescribing moral laws that he will break (3.4.80-83); and (2) that Gloucester will be blinded by Edmund (3.4.117). This essay will begin by examining how Edgar’s role, as an outcast feigning madness, resembles the life and fate of King Lear, and then will show how his role as a spirit, reveals future events that will come to pass.

Edgar’s role, as an outcast and madman, corresponds to King Lear in four ways: (1) they both are deceived by family. Edgar is deceived by his half brother, and King Lear is deceived by two of his daughters. Edgar babbles about how Edmund deceived him: “Who gives anything to Poor Tom? whom the foul fiend hath led through fire and through flame” (3.4.51-52), and reveals his plan “to kill [the] vermin” (3.4.51-52). And by calling Edmund a “foul fiend” who had “course[d] his own shadow for a traitor” (3.4.57-58), he parallels Edmund with a devil, which is trying to make him commit suicide by laying “knives under his pillow” (3.4.54). And because King Lear’s madness begins to be revealed after realizing that he’d been fooled by his daughters (2.4.273-286), he asks Edgar if he became mad due to daughters too (3.4.49-50). (2) The…

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…hom] squinies the eye” (3.4.115-117). These lines suggests that Edmund, the foul fiend, will cause someone’s eye to squint. And it’s only a couple scenes later that Gloucester’s eyes are blinded because of Edmund’s report to Cornwall. Thus Edgar’s lines in this scene are prophetic and further his role as a spirit.

This small essay only touches on some of the important lines that fulfill Edgar’s roles as a spirit and an exiled madman in Act 3, Scene 4. His lines are hard to follow and are meaningless at times because he’s pretending to be mad. It’s not until the play is over that Edgar’s wisdom and insight can be understood in this scene. As a madman, his role foreshadows King Lear’s fate, and as a spirit, he is able to predict Edmund’s moral condition. By counterfeiting madness, Edgar’s wisdom and insight are shown, and Edmund’s corruption is exposed.

Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour – A Big Story in a Small Space

Story of an Hour – A Big Story in a Small Space

Kate Chopin’s “Story of an Hour”, tells the story of a woman trapped in a repressive marriage, who wants desperately to escape. She is given that chance, quite by accident, and the story tells of the hour in which this freedom is given her. The story is very short (only two pages), so is interesting to look at as a minimalist piece of literature, and the surprise ending offers an opportunity to look at Chopin’s use of foreshadowing.

The story is very short, but every word has import in the story and each line has great depth of meaning. It is possible to infer a great deal about the woman’s life, even though we are given very little on the surface. A telegraph and a railroad are mentioned in the first paragraph, so there is some idea of the time the story takes place. We are also given her married name and the full name of her husband. The fact that she is referred to only as “Mrs. Mallard”, while her husband’s full name is given, coupled with what we learn on the second page, gives some indication of the repression she’s had to suffer through and the indignity society placed on woman in those times. We also learn in the first paragraph that she lives in a man’s world, for, though it is her sister that tells her the news, it is her husband’s friend who rushes over with the story. Even after his death, she is confined to the structures she adopted with married life, including the close friend’s of her husband.

It can also be assumed that Brently Mallard was fairly well off, because they live in a home with an upstairs, comfortable furnishings, and he has occasion and reason to travel. Also, they can afford a doctor’s diagnosis that she has a “heart condition”.

The most important idea that is conveyed in the story is summed up in two sentences, near the end of the story, “There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination”.

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