Here is the answer and explanation to the question What is an example of a metaphor used in Shakespeare’s play King Lear?
What is an example of a metaphor used in Shakespeare’s play King Lear?
A metaphor is a literary device in which a word or an expression is used to describe something that has a different literal meaning, as a means of comparison. For example, the line “O my love is a red, red rose” from Robert Burns’s poem uses the metaphor of a rose to describe the emotion of love. Unlike a simile, the comparison in a metaphor is not asserted (“like” or “as” are not used to assert the connection). Many metaphors are employed in the play King Lear. Two of the most prominent ones are storms and sight.
Shakespeare uses the imagery of stormy weather in order to outwardly parallel the inward emotions of characters, particularly of King Lear himself, at several points. In act 3, scene 2, the storm is used as a metaphor for the state of the king’s mind, which has been driven to insanity because of his eldest daughters’ betrayal. Again, in act 3, scene 2, the king’s madness is described as a tempest.
Sight and the lack of it is also a recurring metaphor in this play. Both King Lear and the Earl of Gloucester are blind to the true nature of their children, viewing the loyal ones as disloyal and vice versa. The earl losing his eyesight can therefore be read as an outward metaphor of his inner blindness, as he himself describes in act 4, scene 1. Similarly, the Earl of Kent, noting King Lear’s blindness to Cordelia’s loyalty and Regan and Goneril’s potential for treachery, urges the king to “see better.”
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