From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
King Lear

King Lear

  

by William Shakespeare

King Lear Act 2, Scene 3 Summary

  • Meanwhile, Fortune has not been kind to Edgar, who has survived the manhunt by hiding in a tree.
  • Desperate to escape, he decides to disguise himself as "Poor Tom," an inmate of Bedlam hospital and the kind of guy who roams about the country "roaring" like a madman, driving sharp objects into the flesh of his arms, and begging for charity from his cruel and abusive countrymen.
  • History Snack: By the time Shakespeare wrote King Lear, Bedlam (a.k.a. Bethlehem Hospital) was an asylum notorious for its appalling conditions and brutal treatment of its patients, some of whom were given licenses to beg outside the hospital.
  • Edgar strips himself down to the skin with only a "blanket" to cover his naughty bits, ties his hair in knots, and smears his face with mud so that he cannot be recognized. "Edgar I nothing am" he announces, meaning 1) He's no longer Edgar and 2) He is nothing.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement