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Word Count: 851
Madness in King Lear Act 4 In Shakespeares play King Lear Shakespeare introduces many themes The most important theme shown in King Lear is the theme of madness During the course of this play madness is shown in the tragic hero King Lear King Lear develops madness right in the beginning of the play but he actually shows it in Act 4 In this act King Lear is not only at the peak of madness but it is also shown him coming out of his madness as well This act is likely to be the most important act because it shows the phases King Lear goes through from complete madness to him coming out of his madness and realizing his mistake the point of tragic vision The theme of madness in King Lear is first shown in the act through Cordelias statement to the guards about the condition her father is in Cordelia says Alack tis he Why he was met even now as mad as the vexed sea singing aloud crowned with rank fumiter and furrow-weeds with hardocks hemlock nettles cuckoo-flowers darnel and all the idle weeds that grow in our sustaining corn Act iv iv 1-6 This gives a great description of King Lears state of mind Cordelia gives a description of King Lear dressed in flowers and weeds and she explains to the guards that he is singing aloud All of these characteristics are unfit for a king thus leaving one reasonable explanation of him being mad which Cordelia states in her speech to the guards King Lears madness is further illustrated in act 4 scene 6 Although King Lear had shown signs of madness in other acts such as 3 he had really shown the extreme of his madness in this scene King Lear is shown completely insane through his garments and his speeches to Gloucester and
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