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Theme of blindness in king lear essay

theme of blindness in king lear essay

Vision and Blindness in King Lear - Shmoop

theme of blindness in king lear essay

846 Words 4 Pages

King Lear - Theme of Blindness


In Shakespearean terms, blinds means a whole different thing. Blindness can normally be defined as the inability of the eye to see, but according to Shakespeare, blindness is not a physical quality, but a mental flaw some people possess. Shakespeare’s most dominant theme in his play King Lear is that of blindness. King Lear, Gloucester, and Albany are three prime examples Shakespeare incorporates this theme into. Each of these character’s blindness was the primary cause of the bad decisions they made; decisions which all of them would eventually come to regret. The blindest bat of all was undoubtedly King Lear. Because of Lear’s high position in society, he was supposed to be able to distinguish the good
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As the play progressed, Lear’s eyesight reached closer to 20/20 vision. He realized how wicked his two eldest daughters really were after they locked him out of the castle during a tremendous storm. More importantly, Lear saw through Cordelia’s lack of flatterings and realized that her love for him was so great that she couldn’t express it into words. Unfortunately, Lear’s blindness ended up costing Cordelia her life and consequently the life of himself. Gloucester was another example of a character who suffered from an awful case of blindness. Gloucester’s blindness denied him of 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 wanted to kill the son that would later save his life. Gloucester’s blindness began when Edmund convinced him by the means of a forged letter that Edgar was plotting to kill him. Gloucester’s lack of sight caused him to believe Edmund was the good son and prevented him from pondering the idea of Edmund being after his earldom. Near the end of the play, Gloucester finally regained his sight and realized that Edgar saved his life disguised as Poor Tom and loved him all along. He realized that Edmund planned to take over the earldom and that he was the evil son of the two. Gloucester’s famous line: “I stumbled when I saw” (Act IV, Sc I, Ln 20-21) was ironic. His…

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