Vision in King Lear

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Clarity of Vision In Shakespeare's tragedy, King Lear, a prominent reoccuring theme is vision and it's relovence. The characters, Lear and Gloucester are Shakespeare's principal means of portraying this theme. Although Lear can physically see, he is blind in the sense that he lacks insight, understanding, and direction. In contrast, Gloucester becomes physically blind but gains the type of vision that Lear lacks. It is evident from these two characters that clear vision is not derived solely from physical sight. Lear's failure to understand this is the principal cause of his demise, while Gloucester learns to achieve clear vision, and avoids a fate similar to Lear's. Throughout most of the play, Lear's vision is clouded by his lack of insight. Since he cannot see into other people's personalities, he can never identify them for who they truly are. When Lear is angered by Cordelia, Kent tries to reason with Lear, who is too stubborn to remain open-minded. Lear responds to Kent's opposition with, "Out of my sight!" to which Kent responds, "See better, Lear, and let me still remain" (I.i.160). Here, Lear is saying he never wants to see Kent again, but he could never truly see him for who he was. Kent was only trying to do what was best for Lear, but Lear could not see that. Kent's vision is not clouded, as is Lear's, and he knows that he can remain near Lear as long as he hides behind his mask. Lear's visual perception is so superficial that the merely the garments and simple disguise that Kent wears easily dupe him. Lear cannot really see Kent. He only learns of Kent's noble and honest character just prior to his death, when his vision is cleared. By this time, however, it is too late for an honest relationship to be saved. Lear's vision is also worsened by his lack of direction in life, and his poor foresight, his inability to predict the consequences of his actions. He cannot look far enough into the future to see the consequences of his actions. This, in...
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