Shakespeares King Lear Blindness Recurring Theme

1376 words - 6 pages

Intro Sample...


In Shakespeare's "King Lear" the issue of sight against blindness is a recurring theme. In Shakespearean terms, being blind does not refer to the physical inability to see. Blindness is here a mental flaw some characters posses, and vision is not derived solely from physical sight.
King Lear and Gloucester are the two prime examples Shakespeare incorporates this theme into. Each of these characters' lack of vision was the primary cause of the unfortunate decisions they made, decisions that they would eventually come to regret.
The blindest of all was undoubtedly King Lear. Because of his high position in society he is supposed to be able to distinguish good from bad: unfortunately, his lack of insight prevented him to do so.
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Body Sample...


When Lear disowns Cordelia and banishes her from his kingdom he says
"we
Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see
That face of hers again"
(Act I, scene I, lines 264-266)
Ironically, he later discovers that Cordelia is the only daughter he wants to see, asking her to "forget and forgive" (Act IV, scene VII, line 85). By this time, he has finally started to gain some direction, and his sight is cleared. But it is too late. His lack of precognition had condemned him from the beginning, and actually cost him his and his daughter's life.
In Lear's character one sees that physical sight does not necessary guarantee clear sight. Gloucester however shows that physical blindness does not bring about lack of insight into other people's intentions.
Prior to the loss of his eyes, Gloucester's vision was very much like Lear's. He was unable to see what was going on around him. Instead, he only saw what was presented to him on the surface. His blindness denies him the ability to see the goodness of Edgar and the evil of Edmund. Although Edgar was the good and loving son, Gloucester all but disowned him. He was ready to kill the son who would later save his life. Gloucester's blindness begins when Edmund convinces him by means of a forged letter that Edgar was plotting to kill him. When Edmund shows him the letter that is supposedly from Edgar, it takes very little convincing for Gloucester to believe it. As soon as Edmund mentions that Edgar could be plotting against him, Gloucester calls him an "Abhorred villain, unnatural, detested, brutish villain" (Act I,sc. II,ln ...

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