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Blindness in King Lear

analytical Essay
771 words
771 words
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Blindness is one of the main themes in King Lear and is a recurring trait that is by several characters in the play. Blindness is represented literally, with Gloucester, and figuratively, with King Lear, in the play. In King Lear, Lear himself undergoes several shocking and unpleasant experiences due to his own figurative blindness. These experiences include his daughters, Goneril and Regan, treating him with disrespect and being locked out in the raging storm. These experiences drive Lear to losing his mental sanity, however, revive his moral sanity.
Lear is a character that is labelled as rash and impulsive due to actions to banish his truthful daughter, Cordelia, and giving all he owns to her materialistic sisters, Goneril and Regan. To begin with, Lear initially asks his daughters “Which of us shall we say doth love us most?” (1.1.52) in order to divide up his wealth and kingdom amongst them. This shows Lear’s insecurity toward others feeling towards him and that he needs to be constantly reminded of his power and status. This is a weakness that Goneril and Regan are able to use to their advantage by flattering lies and untruthful feelings in attempt to attain a larger portion of the kingdom, which in turn means they would be more powerful. Cordelia, on the other hand, is not able to “heave [her] heart into [her] mouth” (1.1.94) like her sisters are doing. She is completely honest and truthful with her father which in turn does not please him. Moreover, by exploiting Lear’s weakness, Goneril and Regan are able to manipulate Lear into believing the flattery and fake feelings they express towards him. Therefore, when he is struck with Cordelia’s answer of “Nothing, my lord” (1.1.89), he acts impulsively by disowning and banish...

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...pray you now forget and forgive, I am old and foolish” (4.7.83-84). This represents that Lear is trying to show Cordelia that he knows his actions were rash, which shows that he is regaining his moral sanity. He finally feels remorseful of his actions and wants to redeem himself. Furthermore, when Cordelia is captured and hung, Lear feels that he missed out on a chance to fix what he had done to Cordelia. When checking to see if she is alive, Lear says: “If it be so, it is a chance which does redeem all sorrows that ever have I felt” (5.3.265-267). The fact that Lear wants to redeem himself shows that he is a completely sane man in terms of his feelings and awareness, and even though he might be mentally unstable he is still able to feel emotional pain and the consequences of his actions. Overall, King Lear’s sanity is visible throughout the progression of the play.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that blindness is one of the main themes in king lear and is a recurring trait that is by several characters in the play.
  • Analyzes how lear is rash and impulsive due to actions to banish his truthful daughter, cordelia, and give all he owns to her materialistic sisters, goneril and regan.
  • Analyzes how lear is a figuratively blind man who is perceived as being insane, but his sanity becomes visible when he suffers the consequences of rash decisions.
  • Analyzes how lear's experiences opened up his eyes to the lies and manipulation that revolves around him but also shine a light on his bad decisions.
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