King Lear Themes: Nature

France’s explanation of Cordelia’s honesty “Sure her offence, / Must be of such unnatural degree / That monsters it”France
Lear’s fault disrupted his relationship with Cordelia “like an engine, wrenched my frame of nature / From the fixed place”Lear
Lear’s condemnation of Cordelia’s unnaturalness “A wretch whom nature is ashamed / Almost to acknowledge hers”Lear
Edmund’s address to Nature “Thou, Nature, art my goddess; to thy law / My services are bound. Wherefore should I / Stand in the plague of custom […]?”Edmund
Lear summons nature to make Goneril sterile “Hear, nature, hear; dear goddess, hear! / Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend / To make this creature fruitful! / Into her womb convey sterility, / Dry up in her the organs of increase”Lear
Edmund’s acceptance of his inherent evil “Some good I mean to do, / Despite of mine own nature”Edmund
Edmund’s plot to exploit Edgar’s natural goodness “A brother noble, / Whose nature is so far from doing harms, / That he suspects none”Edmund
Gloucester’s condemnation of Edgar “Abhorred villain! / Unnatural, detested, brutish villain – worse than brutish!”Gloucester
Gloucester’s explanation for political and familial chaos “These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us. Though the wisdom of Nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself scourged by the sequent effects: love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide: in cities, mutinies; in countries, discord; in palaces, treason; and the bond cracked ‘twixt son and father”Gloucester
Lear’s cry for promiscuity “Let copulation thrive, / For Gloucester’s bastard son was kinder to his father / Than were my daughters got ‘tween the lawful sheets”Lear
Lear calls on Regan to know better as the kinder daughter “Thou better knowst / The offices of nature, bond of childhood”Lear
Kent’s condemnation of Oswald “nature disclaims in thee – a tailor made thee”Kent
Command of the wind “Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks!”Lear
Lear’s rejection of shelter, experiencing hardship like the animals of the natural world “I abjure all roofs, and choose / To wage against the enmity o’th’air – / To be a comrade with the wolf and owl”Lear
Knight’s personification/anthropomorphism of the storm “blasts with eyeless rage” “the belly-pinched wolf”Knight
Body can’t function when mind doesn’t work properly “We are not ourselves, / When nature, being oppressed, commands the mind / To suffer with the body”Lear
Calls on Nature to wreak havoc “And thou, all-shaking thunder, / Strike flat the thick rotundity o’ the world, / Crack nature’s moulds, all germens spill at once / That make ingrateful man!”Lear
Nature does not require excess “Allow not nature more than nature needs, / Man’s life is cheap as beasts”Lear
Gloucester calls on Edmund to save him “Edmund, enkindle all the sparks of nature / To quit this horrid act”Gloucester
The world will come to Lear’s state of ruin shortly “O ruined piece of nature, this great world / Shall so wear out to naught”Gloucester
The storm is too much for humans to bear “The tyranny of the open night’s too rough / For nature to endure”Kent
Calls on nature to heal Lear “All you unpublished virtues of the earth, / Spring forth with my tears. Be aidant and remediate”Cordelia
Cordelia laid on the ground dead “She’s dead as earth”Lear
Rolf Soellner – A03/A04Aristotelian versus Platonian / Stoic view of nature Aristotelians believed that the body influences the mind, whereas Plato and the Stoics supported by The Defence believed the mind should reject such influence – “Nature commands the mind” (to control the body)