In Shakespeare's classic tragedy, King Lear, the issue of sight and its relevance to clear vision is a recurring theme. Shakespeare's principal means of portraying this theme is through the characters of Lear and Gloucester. 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 consequently avoids a fate similar to Lear's.
Throughout the play, the good-hearted Earl of Gloucester suffers at the hands of his illegitimate child Edmund and the king’s evil daughters Goneril and Regan. Gloucester loves his son Edgar and has given him land as a result. Edmund wishes to take these lands from his brother but in order to do so he must make Edgar fall from his father’s good graces. Edmund hatches a plan and says, “A credulous father and a brother noble/ Whose nature is so far from doing harms/That he suspects none” (1.2.187-189). Edmund quickly and cleverly begins to place doubt in his father’s mind about Edgar and soon manages to falsely convince his trusting father that Edgar wants to kill him. By falsely believing his son Edmund, Gloucester believes his actions to bring Edgar to “justice” are appropriate and sends (search patrols to find his son in) order to do so. Gloucester also defends and helps King Lear although his two evil daughters told him not too. Gloucester cannot bear to see King Lear in such a miserable state and goes against his daughters’ wishes when he says, “I would not see thy cruel nails/ Pluck out his ...
In King Lear, Gloucester internally struggles between his legitimate son, Edgar, and his illegitimate son, Edmund. He is unable to appropriately place trust in his sons and this leads to Gloucester’s punishments. Gloucester banishes Edgar despite that Edgar remained loyal to his father. Shortly after Edgar’s banishment, Cornwall blinds Gloucester while revealing to him that Edmund
Throughout Shakespeare's story of King Lear, readers might see a similarity between King Lear and Gloucester. Initially, you feel as if King Lear and Gloucester are, in a sense, bad people for abandoning the individuals that care about them the most. King Lear banishes his daughter Cordelia because she doesn’t express her love for Lear the way he wants her to and he also banishes Kent for standing up for Cordelia in saying that she truly loves Lear the most. Gloucester banishes his son Edgar because he is manipulated by his illegitimate son Edmund into thinking that Edgar is trying to murder him so that he can take his throne. In the beginning, I feel as if King Lear is insecure and has poor judgment while Gloucester is easily influenced and very naive. Towards the end of the play, my opinions on both Lear and Gloucester changed. I began to feel sympathy towards them once they started going through traumatic events. Towards the end of the play, King Lear becomes a humble and caring individual while Gloucester later proves how he is capable of great bravery. In the end, it seems as though both Lear and Gloucester die from the guilt and sorrow that comes from the traumatic events that they experience. One might suggest that they both die from a broken heart.
Edmund lusted for all of his father’s power, lying to his gullible brother and father aided him in his plan for total authority along with destroying their lives. As bastard son of Gloucester, Edmund wanted to receive all of the power destined for his brother, Edgar, who was Gloucester’s legitimate son. Edmund stated his disapproval of his brother, “Wherefore should I/ Stand in the plague of custom, and permit/ The curiosity of nations to deprive me/ For that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshines/ Lag of a brother? Why bastard?”(1.2.2-6). Edmund wanted the respect and love that Edgar received even though he was Gloucester’s bastard son. He claimed that he was not much younger or “moonshines lag of a brother” therefore he should be considered just as smart and able-minded as any legitimate son. He built up hatred toward Edgar and in order to get rid of him he convinced his father that Edgar had betrayed him through a letter. The letter that Edmund made read, “If our father would sleep till I waked him, you/ should enjoy half his revenue for ever, and live/ the beloved of your brother, Edgar”(1.2.55-57). Edmund portrayed Edgar as the son that would kill Gloucester only to inherit his money and share his inheritance with Edmund. Gloucester believed Edmund, sending out guards to kill Edgar for his betrayal...
Gloucester’s renewal of sight is described by the line “I stumbled when I saw”. I saw that this line could be interpreted in two ways. First, it is meant to say that when he could physically still see, he had been following the wrong path. Gloucester made continuous mistakes when he had his eye sight, trusting and assuming much too quickly. It was then until his eyes wore literally plucked out but the Duke of Cornwall, that the truth finally came to surface. This famous line explains that when he was not blind yet, he kept stumbling on the lies and disguises of both Edmund and Edgar. Alternatively, “I stumbled when I saw” could also be a reflection how he mentally sees who has been in the truth all along, but it took him to be paralyzed in vision to see, where he must now “stumble” to survive. In either interpretation the same message is that Gloucester no longer desires eye sight is he can see more clearly without them. The confidence that his eye sight once gave him only mislead his belief of reality. This entire event changes Gloucester’s morals completely. His vision is more improved using his mind instead of his eyes. In line 19, it is apparent that he is in full remorse: “I have no way and therefore want no eyes” shows that Gloucester accepts his faults and rather than pities himself, becomes more acknowledgeable in others. Gloucester states, “Might I but live to see thee in my touch, I’ld say I had my eyes again!” Because Gloucester finds that Edgar had been innocent all along, this line shows how truly sorry he now is and how to see feel Edgar for one more moment would be equal to having vision. Nothing else in the world matters to Gloucester anymore. The change in personality shows when he believes that he i...
We as human beings utilize the five senses to process information about our surroundings. These senses help keep us safe. For example, we use our sense of touch to avoid picking up a hot pan, while our senses of smell and taste prevent us from cooking any rotten food in the pan. Our sense of sight allows us to see an oncoming train, while our sense of sound makes it possible to hear the train’s horn.
Not only is the audience able to see the dominating theme of blindness affect the lives of King Lear and the Duke of Albany, but one is also able to see the downfall of Gloucester due to his blindness and poor decisions on situations he is oblivious too. In King Lear, Gloucester is not only blind in mental terms, but he is also physically blinded by Goneril near the end of the play. Firstly, Gloucester’s blindness denies him the capability to see the good in his son Edgar and the evil in his son Edmund. Gloucester’s inability to see causes him to hunt down his son Edgar in order to try and kill him, when in reality the son he is trying to kill, is the son that has the right intentions. Edmund, Gloucester’s evil and illegitimate son plans to kill Gloucester to take his wealth and riches thought out the whole play. When Gloucester is angered by the letter Edmund claims Edgar wrote, he screams,
Blindness vs. Sight- This theme is realized toward the middle of the plot. When Lear and Gloucester are living well and in power, they are both treated with respect by their children. In the end, we find out that they had been blinded by their children all along, but this was after they had already treated their noble child so cruelly. In Gloucester’s case, he literally had to become blind in order to see.
Much of the imagery in King Lear's first scene presages what is to come in the play. Often characters refer to senses, particularly sight, whether as a comment on the necessity of sensing consequences before acting (as Lear does not), or as yet another of Shakespeare's comments (most apparent in Hamlet) on "seeming." The destruction of Gloucester's eyes and his subsequent musings ("I stumbled when I saw" (IV.i.19) etc.) are a more graphical presentation of this basic theme which originally appears in Lear's first scene. Goneril declares Lear is "dearer than eyesight" (I.i.56) to her (though she is the one who later suggests putting Gloucester's eyes out for his "treachery"). Regan goes further, proclaiming "I profess / Myself an enemy to all other joys / Which the most precious square of sense possesses" (I.i. 72-74). Crossed in his wrath by Kent, Lear cries "Out of my sight!" (I.i.157), only to be reproved with Kent's "See better, Lear, and let me still remain / The true blank of thine eye." (I.i.158-9).