“My wits begin to turn. Come on, my boy. How dost, my boy? Art cold? I am cold myself. Where is this straw, my fellow? The art of our necessities is strange and can make vile things precious. Come, your hovel. Poor Fool and Knave, I have one part in my heart that’s sorry yet for thee.” – Lear (3.2 67-73)
I found this particular paragraph interesting because it is the first time we see King Lear showing humility and compassion for another person. In the past we have seen King Lear completely ignore the fool, but in this scene not only is King Lear acknowledging the fool but asking how he is doing. I think by seeing a change of heart in King Lear with him being more compassionate and caring towards others, we can foresee a change in his relationships with others. I think King Lear’s change of heart will lead to reconciliation with everyone he has irrationally shunned and/or disowned specifically Kent and Cordelia.
I found an interesting interpretation of King Lear in the form of poetry written by Margaret Atwood called “King Lear in Respite Care”. This interpretation was interesting to me because it put King Lear in our modern-day time where he is in respite care. Here he is helpless, powerless and lonely. In this setting, King Lear is not a man that could bear any storm or stand up against his daughters, but broken. If King Lear were portrayed as an even older man like he is in the poem, how would the story of King Lear change? If the story took place in modern-day time, would King Lear still eventually show compassion for others as he did is the highlighted passage? Or would he remain a stubborn old man, knowing that he wouldn’t have to rely on his daughters or others to care for him in his old age? This interpretation allows us to think about the affect King Lear’s personality has on the theme and the storyline of the play.