It appears most strikingly when Edgar, as the mad Tom O'Bedlam
, warns those around him of the devil Flibbertigibbet.
Brink's presiding image of the mortal condition is Shakespeare's "forked animal", Poor Tom O'Bedlam
in King Lear, tattered, traumatised, beleaguered not only by the hostility of the elements but especially by his kinsman's lust for the power and the glory, yet embodying redemptive human compassion.
There are hints that Tom might be mentally ill in some way--the strange drawings that his wife discovers for one thing; the fact that he shares his name with Tom O'Bedlam
, an old slang term for lunatics that were turned out onto the streets for another--but these hints are not developed.