You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

Shakespeare: King Lear

20. Act 4, Scene 6: The Return of Lear

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we read through the middle third of Act 4, Scene 6, from the point that Lear appears dressed in flowers to the point where he runs off again. In particular, we think about: (i) Lear’s journey from ignorance to self-awareness; (ii) the relationship between art and nature (“Nature’s above art in that respect”, 85); (iii) the relationship between Lear and Gloucester; and (iv) the themes of ‘patients’ and ‘patience’ (“Thou must be patient”, 173).


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 4, Scene 6: The Return of Lear [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Shakespeare: King Lear – Act 4, Scene 6: The Return of Lear." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Feb 2019,

Image Credits

Get instant access to over 7,200 lectures