The anguish of the third dimension is given its first verbal manifestation in poetic history in King Lear.


  Shakespeare seems to have missed due recognition for having in King Lear made the first, and so far as I know, the only piece of verbal threedimensional perspective in any literature. It is not again until Milton's Paradise Lost (II, 11. 1 -5) that a fixed visual point of view is deliberately provided for the reader:

High on a Throne of Royal State, which far
Outshon the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
Showrs on her Kings Barbaric Pearl and Gold,
Satan exalted sat,...

The arbitrary selection of a single static position creates a pictorial space with vanishing point. This space can be filled in bit by bit, and is quite different from non-pictorial space in which each thing simply resonates or modulates its own space in visually two-dimensional form.

Now the unique piece of three-dimensional verbal art which appears in King Lear is in Act IV, scene vi. Edgar is at pains to persuade the blinded Gloucester to believe the illusion that they are at the edge of a steep cliff:

Edgar:   Hark, do you hear the sea?
Gloucester.   No, truly.
Edgar.   Why then, your other senses grow imperfect
      By your eyes' anguish... .
      Come on, sir; here's the place. Stand still. How fearful
      And dizzy 'tis to cast one's eyes so low!