In Act II,
Scene IV there is even stronger evidence of the emotional connection that Lear
has formed with the Fool. The Fool had
warned Lear earlier in Act I, Scene V that his daughter Regan would treat him
exactly as Goneril had in his conversation with the king.
FOOL: Shalt see thy other daughter will use thee
kindly for though she’s as like this as a crab’s like an apple, yet I can tell
what I can tell.
LEAR: What canst thou tell, boy?
FOOL: She will taste as like this as a crab does
to a crab.
passage he says that the second daughter will be like the first, just as a crab
apple is to another one. But even after
this warning, Lear is still devastated when he actually discovers that the Fool
is right and Regan has treated him as badly as Goneril. It is at this point that Lear, as hurt as he
is, turns to the Fool instead of anyone else for comfort and support. We see this in Lear’s statement towards the
end of Act II, Scene IV.
LEAR: You heavens, give me that patience, patience
I need! You see me here, you gods, a
poor old man, as full of grief as age, wretched in both . . . . . No, you
unnatural hags, I will have such revenges on you both that all the world shall
– I will do such things – What they are yet I know not, but they shall be
terrors of the earth. You think I’ll
weep; No, I’ll not weep. I have full cause of weeping; but this heart
shall break into a hundred thousand flaws or ere I’ll weep. O Fool, I shall go
Lear is obviously very distraught during this entire
speech and of all the people he could have turned to in this predicament he
turns to the Fool. This is very telling
of impression the Fool has made on Lear and the impact he has had on Lear’s
character. In fact it has even been
said that this passage gives support to an uncommon interpretation that in
Lear’s last words, “And my poor fool is hanged!” he is referring to the Fool
and not Cordelia (Lothian, 46). This
comes from the idea that under extreme duress and despair, such as Lear is
under at this time that he seeks out the company and support of the Fool.