21 November 2012
Theme of blindness in King Lear
It is evident that several characters throughout the text King Lear written by William Shakespeare move from blindness to a clearer perception. It has been said that King Lear is about a tragedy of “man going sane.” In Shakespearean terms, blind has a different meaning than modern English. Blindness is normally defined as the inability of the eye to see, but according to Shakespeare, blindness is not a physical quality, but a mental quality some people possess as well. Shakespeare’s most dominant theme in his play King Lear is that of blindness. King Lear and Gloucester are two 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 of all the characters was undoubtedly King Lear. Because of Lear’s high position in society, he is supposed to be able to distinguish the good from the bad; unfortunately, his lack of sight prevented him to do so. Lear’s first act of blindness came at the beginning of the play. First, he was easily deceived by his two eldest daughters’ lies, then, he was unable to see the reality of Cordelia’s true love for him, and as a result, banished her from his kingdom: “Thou hast her, France; / Therefore be gone without our grace, our love, our benison” (1.1.264-269). 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 a forged letter that Edgar was plotting to kill him. Gloucester’s lack of sight caused him to believe Edmund...