Blindness in William Shakespeare´s King Lear

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The play, King Lear, considered to be one of William Shakespeare’s best works, is a tragedy that focuses on the theme of blindness. In the play, the word blindness, defined as the inability to physically see, is used as a metaphor for understanding and self-awareness. Blindness presents itself through the actions of King Lear, Gloucester, and Albany.
Throughout the play, King Lear is shown to be the most blind of all. Lear first shows an act of blindness in Act 1, when he divides his kingdoms among his three daughters, Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia, through a test of who loves him the most. Goneril and Regan tell Lear that they love him more than anything; however, they were only saying that to get their hands on the kingdoms; Lear believes their falsehoods. Cordelia, on the other hand, says to Lear that he loves him as much as a daughter should love his father. Lear, misunderstanding Cordelia’s words and enraged by it, he banishes Cordelia from the kingdom, “… for we have no such daughter, nor shall ever see that face of hers again. Therefore begone without our grace, our love, our benison.” (1.4.304-308) Lear was unable to see and really understand the words Cordelia said to him, he was blinded by the deceit of his eldest daughters and because of that he lost the only daughter that truly loved him; he believed that Cordelia did not love him. And so, Cordelia goes away with the King of France. Another act of blindness of King Lear is when he banished Kent, one of his most loyal followers, from the kingdom for supporting Cordelia with what she said to him. Kent understands Cordelia’s love for his father and tells Lear to, “See better… and let me still remain/The true blank of thine eye.”(1.1.180-181). Here, Kent tries to make Lear...

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...Goneril is totally vicious, he still does not do much to stop her. Albany proves his love through the following words: “ I cannot be so partial, Goneril, To the great love I bear You” (1.4.329-330). Here, Albany is saying that he should not think of only himself but also his love for Goneril. Albany was unable to realize the wrong doings of Goneril due to his love for her. He was also blind to the fact that Goneril was cheating on him with Edmund. Later in the play, Albany finds out the true intentions of Goneril from Edgar and begins to see the person Goneril really is, “O Goneril, You are not worth the dust which the rude wind blows in your face!” (4.2.38-40). Here, Albany is releasing his emotions for the first time telling Goneril that she is worthless. Albany only begins to see the truth because of Edgar but it was too late to change anything that has happened.
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