The motif of disguise is prominent in King Lear. Two characters choose to change their apperal. It is possible to draw upon a "progress narrative" approach to explain their motive for their disguise. Yet this explanation is insufficient. This paper suggest different methods of interpretation Historical elucidation that draws upon class conflict, which Shakespeare chooses to show through the conduct of his disguised character, is stressed. Yet another and different way seeing the function of disguises is exhibited in the paper: Edgar's Tom and Kent's Caius entail symbolic importance as the emblems of truth and regeneration in the play. .
First and foremost, the motif of disguise in King Lear is defined in terms of "progress narrative". "progress narrative", according to Garber, is a story line that advances towards the fulfillment of specific goals. A character whose life story embodies "progress narrative". is 'compelled' by social and economic forces to disguise himself or herself in order to get a job, escape repression, or gain artistic or political 'freedom' (Garber, 70). In King Lear, Edgar decides to "take the baset and most poorest shape" (2.3.7) in the form of mad "poor tom" out of the elementary imperative of self preservation. His bastard brother manipulates their father to believe in Edgar's unreal intents of patricide and usurpation, so the latter, in order to escape's the father's deadly wrath, is left with no choice but to conceal his identity: .
No port is free, no place/ That guard and most unusual vigilance/ Doest not attend my taking. Whiles I may'scape/ I will preserve my self. (2.3.3-6). .
The main motive of another disguised character in the play can also be explained in terms of a "progress narrative". Kent as a loyal and true advisor of Lear has put himself "between the Dragon and his wrath" (1.