To from the false nature of human beings

To be naked, or to not be naked: that is the question. A question that awakens King Lear from the realities he is truly facing towards the people of his own Kingdom, and most especially to his three daughters: Regan, Goneril, and Cordelia. That serves a purpose of realization in his thought process throughout the play. Sleeping from the false nature of human beings who cover themselves with illegitimacy. To waking up and valuing true nature itself within humanity – those who are open and honest – which is in most need in the Kingdom that is filling with lies and hate running under the false love of Regan and Goneril. With growing awareness, Lear distinguishes the unnatural and natural qualities of living beings in society, which leads to a change of perception towards Cordelia. Lear’s thought process for unnaturalness escalates to an awareness of artificiality and fakeness in society. Nevertheless, before understanding the differences, Lear initiates the play with an unnatural order of discourse for the Kingdom. He uses nature to tackle against nature’s beauty of the play, Cordelia. With “the sacred radiance of the sun, the mysteries of Hecate and the night … here” Lear disclaims, “all his paternal care for her,” (1.1.114-120). This leads to banishing Cordelia’s humble and timid presence, losing the Kingdom’s natural order. Allowing both sisters, Regan and Goneril to take over the remaining land, and minimize Lear’s power and pride, making their unnatural presence more dominant in the Kingdom. While both sisters continue taking the Kingdom away from Lear, he mocks humans’ artificiality through the use of borrowing garments from other natural beings. When speaking about Poor Tom – who scarcely clothes like a beggar, in order to play his character – Lear says that he owes “the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep no wool, the cat no perfume,” (3.4.107-109). However, Lear exclaims that the “three” who are present – Fool, Kent, and himself – look “sophisticated,” which is the opposite of Poor Tom (3.4.109-110). The use of animal imagery presents Lear’s understanding of naturalness; how animals do not need to borrow anything to cover themselves, rather have their own skin or fur to protect themselves. While Kent, Lear, and the Fool – representatives of the human race – borrow articles of clothing, making them feel unnatural in their own skin. This also ridicules Regan and Goneril, shamelessly ruling the Kingdom with the royal garments they wear after expressing their fictitious affection towards him for power. To add to his mockery and rage, Lear emphasizes his reaction of artificiality with the aid of his tone, diction, and syntax. As the play reaches the climax, there is a crescendo in Lear’s voice when he expresses his feelings on being unnatural, with the use of exclamation marks: “Ha! Here’s three on’s are sophisticated! … Off, off you lendings!” (3.4.109-112). This showcases his madness – which the pathetic fallacy of the storm in Act 3 Scene 4 portrays – asserting that he is more aware and angry of the unnatural quality that people have, unlike in the beginning of the play. As a result, Lear realizes his blindness from the deception of Regan and Goneril, and how unnatural people can be. Nonetheless, Lear’s rage for unnaturalness in society prompts his appreciation of naturalness. As the nature of society is unveiled, Lear learns the pure qualities of what being natural in society holds. This slow realization raises the importance of nakedness representing naturalness. Using Poor Tom as an example, Lear questions, “if man is no more than Poor Tom,” starting to ponder about the naturalness of human society and to “consider Poor Tom well,” and “art the thing itself” (3.4.106-110). It is evident that Lear’s thought process shifts, first “considers” Poor Tom, to keep thinking about him. Then suddenly discovering that he is the “thing,” finding that Poor Tom demonstrates qualities a natural human being: nakedness. This is also because “naked” people embody Lear’s ideal true nature of a human being with nothing to cover, nothing to hide, nothing artificial. Similarly, Cordelia’s response towards Lear’s question: “Which of you shall say we doth love us most?” reveals her nakedness in society (1.1.52). “Nothing,” (1.1.92). A short, but powerful statement reveals her true nature. By “nothing,” Cordelia means that the concern of her love should not be a worry for her father, as it is undisguisable, and au naturel. Unlike Regan and Goneril’s, who covers their fake love for him with false statements. Lear addresses the idea of nakedness in a calmer tone in comparison to unnaturalness, exhibiting the shift of his perception of the natural qualities of living beings in society. Lear mentions Poor Tom as “art the thing itself” and that “unaccommodated man is no more but … a poor bare forked animal as Poor Tom is art,” sharing that he regards true nature’s presence despite the unnatural qualities society carries (3.4.110-112). In contrast to speaking about unnaturalness, Lear speaks in diminuendo; slowly apprehending the use of long sentences, and full stops, displays his careful thought process of natural order. Lear then abruptly says, to “come unbutton his clothes,” which is the end of his thinking process (3.4.112). This, later on, makes him open up and forgive Cordelia for not realizing the full potential she has as she relates to the natural order of the Kingdom. Lear perceiving what the beauty of nature holds in our society today and forgiving Cordelia, exemplifies his clarity of understanding naturality. Through the high tides and the low tides, to the bumpy hills, and to the curvy roads, Lear’s harmonious trek of understanding human nature exemplifies the thought process he experiences during a climactic moment in his life. Lear’s ability to distinguish the unnatural and natural qualities of beings in society, leads to a change of perception towards his own daughter Cordelia. Thus, as the storm rests, Lear rests too, this time with an answer to his doubt for humanity.

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