To be naked, or to not be naked: that is the question. A question that arises King Lear from what is happening in his Kingdom, to answer the realities he is truly facing. Sleeping away from the false nature of humans in society covering themselves with illegitimacy. And waking up to value the true nature it beholds of being pure and honest in society. With growing awareness, Lear distinguishes the unnatural and natural qualities of beings in society, which leads to a change of perception towards Cordelia. Lear’s thought process of unnaturalness leads to an escalation 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 – natural order-  and allowing both sisters, Regan and Goneril – unnatural order – to take over the remaining land and minimize Lear’s power of the Kingdom. Whilst both sisters continue taking the Kingdom away from Lear, he mocks humans’ artificiality through the use of borrowing garments from other natural beings: animals. For Poor Tom,  “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 “there are three on’s that are sophisticated,” close to him  (3.4.109-110). The use of animal imagery shows 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. Whilst Kent, Lear, and the Fool, representatives of the human race, borrow articles of clothing, feel unnatural in their 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 onto his mockery and rage, Lear emphasizes his realization of artificiality with the aid of his tone, diction, and syntax.  As the play escalates, there is an escalade as he expresses his feelings for the idea of being unnatural, with the enhancement of exclamation marks: “Ha! Here’s three on’s are sophisticated! … Off, off you lendings!” (3.4.109-112). The use of crescendo showcases his raising voice  – which the pathetic fallacy of the storm in Act 3 Scene 4 portrays – asserting that he is aware and angry of unnatural order, unlike the beginning of the play. As a result, Lear reaches a pinnacle moment of realization during the climactic storm, for blinding himself of the deception from Regan and Goneril, and the unnatural state the society is in. 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 (who is naked) 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, as he first uses the adverb “well,” then later on considers it as the noun “art,” gaining more respect to the meaning of nakedness naturality. 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 frank 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 stance in true nature. By “nothing,” Cordelia means that her love towards her father is au naturel, and raw, unlike Regan and Goneril, covering their fake love for him with false statements. Lear addresses the idea of nakedness in a calm, and diminuendo tone, exhibiting the shift of his perception of the natural qualities of living beings in society. He mentions “Poor Tom is art the thing itself; unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor bare forked animal as he is art,” showing that he regards true nature’s presence despite the unnatural order they are facing (3.4.110-112). In contrast to speaking about unnaturalness, Lear speaks about naturalness in diminuendo; slowly apprehending the use of long sentences, full stops, showcases his careful thought process of natural order. Then abruptly says, to “come unbutton his clothes,” which is an end of his thoughtful 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. The harmonious trek of thought that Lear faces on the true and false nature in society. 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.  Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Done.

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