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Shakespeare: King Lear

12. Act 3, Scenes 1-2: The Storm

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About this Lecture


In this module, we explores Act 3, Scene 1-2, the scenes in which the storm finally hits. In particular, we focus on: (i) the short Act 3, Scene 2, in which Kent gives describes tensions between Albany and Cornwall, and the raising of an army in France – a glimmer of hope, perhaps, for Lear?; (ii) the potential for a Christian reading of the storm as being analogous to Noah’s Flood; (iii) the theme of nature and the figure of Mother Nature; (iv) the figure of Lear and his famous speech on the heath (“Blow winds and crack your cheeks!”, 3.2.1ff.); (v) Lear’s journey of self-discovery and self-awareness, for which this scene appears to be something of a turnin-point (“My wits begin to turn”, 3.2.67); and (vi) the Fool’s final ‘prophecy’ (“I’ll speak a prophecy ere I go”, 3.2.80).


In this twenty-five part course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Shakespeare’s King Lear. We begin with a broad introduction to the historical, political and intellectual context of early 17th-century England. After that, we go through the play scene by scene, providing close reading and detailed analysis, with commentary on character, plot, themes and motifs, language, symbolism – and more.

We use the Arden (Third Series) edition of the play. Students using a different edition of the play may encounter slight differences in both the text and line numbers.


John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2019, February 26). Shakespeare: King Lear - Act 3, Scenes 1-2: The Storm [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Shakespeare: King Lear – Act 3, Scenes 1-2: The Storm." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Feb 2019,

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