King Lear summary act III
Kent sends Cordelia a message informing her of her father’s predicament. With the Help of her husband the king of France, she readies an army to invade England. Lear is caught in a storm but braves the elements and delivers a speech standing in the rain commenting on the betrayal of his daughters. He uses an apostrophe in the first line as an address to the elements. “Blow winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow…” (act iii, ii, 1). Lear braving the storm is symbolic of his daughter’s cruel treatment of him but he will endure it as the elements unkindness cannot be conceived as acts of betrayal unlike his daughters whom he has bestowed upon his entire kingdom.
The conflict between Goneril and Regan deepens. Gloucester unknowingly informs Edmund that Cordelia with a French army plans to invade England. Edgar, Gloucester’s son appears and introduces himself to Lear as “poor Tom a beggar. Lear feels Tom has been reduced to such a state because he too may have had daughters to whom he gave away everything. In another metaphor he compares both his daughters to pelicans
Meanwhile Edmund and Regan’s husband the Duke of Cornwall are plotting angst Gloucester. Edmund accuses his father of treason and betraying Cornwall. The Duke then rewards Edmund by conferring upon him the new title of Earl of Gloucester. He then instructs him to find his father so that they could punish him.
Lear already half mad holds a mock trial in an outhouse on the grounds of Gloucester’s estate. He speaks to two stools as if they were his daughters’ Goneril and Regan. Gloucester warns Lear that his daughters plan to murder him. He tells Kent to take him to Dover where he will be safe.
Gloucester is then captured by Regan and Cornwall who torture and blind him. A servant unable to bear the torture stabs Cornwall but Regan kills him instead. She also tells Gloucester it was Edmund who informed them of his treachery and Gloucester then repents his folly of losing Edgar.