King Lear, Comparison of Gloucester and King Lear

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Compare the contrast between Gloucester and Lear.

In Shakespeare’s play, King Lear, we see the contrast between the characters King Lear and Gloucester, explored through several key themes. The contrast between characters is explored through the betrayal of their children, the love of their children and blindness of reality. In the way that these 2 characters must face the difficult situations that are dealt to them, King Lear is in every confrontation a fighter, and desperate to have the last word, where as Gloucester is more of a peace keeper and negotiator.

At different points of the play king Lear and Gloucester are betrayed by their children. Gloucester is betrayed by his illegitimate evil son Edmund, who seeks revenge and recognition. King Lear is betrayed by his 2 daughters, Goneril and Regan, and rashly banished the only daughter, Cordelia who truly loves him. Cordelia loves her father so much that she will never say something just to please him, or to gain land or title, “Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave my heart into my mouth”. Unlike her 2 evil sisters who say what King Lear wants to hear, Cordelia displays integrity above all else. Edmund seeks to be the heir of Gloucester’s throne but he can not do this if Edgar, his legitimate brother is in the way.

King Lear and Gloucester both have children who love them even though they treat them wrongly, and children who deceive and plot against them. Lear banishes his daughter Cordelia, but it turns out that she is the only daughter who loves him. Gloucester in turn, sides with the son who is plotting against him, and puts a price on the head of his legitimate son, Edgar. Gloucester and Lear both disown their children, but in the end come to see through their blindness and love their children.

The blindness of Gloucester and King Lear is a key contrast in the play. Lear and Gloucester and both subject to blindness which ultimately is the main perpetrator of their downfall. Gloucester sits uneasily...
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