Theme Of Nature In King Lear

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In William Shakespeare’s King Lear, the ideas of what is natural and a person’s character have been strong underlying themes. Throughout the play, characters both disguise themselves and show who they really are, lose and gain knowledge and sanity, and stick to and break promises all because of their character traits and what they feel is natural. In this short scene, Act Four Scene Four, the theme of nature—in terms of character and the natural world—comes to the foreground.
Cordelia re-exhibits her honesty and reliability in this twenty-nine line long scene. Earlier in the play, she refused to express her love to her father in words since actions hold more weight to her, at the expense of her inheritance and ability to enter the kingdom.
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Lear is first mentioned to have been seen wearing a crown of weeds, but the specific kinds of plants Cordelia chose hold a deeper meaning. Imagining that her father was singing out loud to himself, “crowned with rank fumiter and furrow-weeds,...” (IV.4.4) is very specific. But in saying that they are “rank” (IV.4.4), as mentioned in the notes, hints at the idea that she believes her father’s mind has gone foul. Cordelia’s inclusion of “fumiters”(IV.4.4), spirally plants, make the makeshift crown seem more crown-like, but says she thinks that Lear would want an odd looking and extravagant plant to be adorned on his head. In adding “hemlock” (IV.4.4), a powerful sedative, to the grocery list of weeds he strapped to his body, Cordelia installs the idea that Lear is tampering with his mind into that of the reader. Guessing that he dressed himself in “darnel”(IV.4.5), a weed that invades corn, and then mentions that it grows in their “sustaining corn” (IV.4.6), furthers the idea that Cordelia believes that Lear is no longer tampering with his state of mind, but of the state of his kingdom. The gentleman later mentions to Cordelia that they should aid Lear’s restlessness with an herb to induce the “[closing of] the eye of anguish” (IV.4.14). The gentleman wants to use a plant as the solution to his insanity, while Cordelia just associated plants and…show more content…
The first time we see her confess that “[her] love’s more ponderous than [her] tongue” (I.1.78-79) and holds her actions higher than her words. After she is banished to France with her husband, she is neither heard from nor directly mentioned. It could be said that the sanity and wisdom left with her after scene one. Her father grows older and not so much wiser, her sisters mult their lies and show their abusive inner selves; not to mention Gloucester’s family who’s whole familial hierarchy shatters. This is the first we see her on stage again but it is not for long before she winds up imprisoned and hanged at Edmund’s orders. In the period of time she is aby her father’s side in their imprisonment, Lear, even though he was at first confused, is overcome with happiness that his daughter was willing to return to even be in his presence, offering to drink poison for her (IV.7.72). Cordelia saw how her father was severely negatively impacted by “those violent harms that [his] two [daughters]” (IV.7.27) had done to him, that he lost his sense of location, self, and time. Even after a long absence she was able to see what her sisters have done in terms of hurting their already withering father. And the last we see of her alive is in her father’s arms, cherishing their old memories, times when brother did not go after brother, sister after sister, son after father, wife after
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