Blindness In Shakespeare's The Tragedy Of King Lear

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Imagine an arrogant king of England who plays the game “Who loves me the most?” with his three daughters. This unconventional contest will decide which daughter will receive the largest portion of land from his kingdom. Two of the daughters exaggerate their love for him, but one chooses to remain silent. Little did the king know that he would lose his power due to this competition. As the king loses everything and faces the consequences for his poor decisions, he starts to see the world in a different perspective with new eyes. In his play The Tragedy of King Lear, William Shakespeare depicts a variety of motifs and symbols, such as betrayal, blindness, insanity, justice, and compassion, which comments on human behavior and actions.

Initially,
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In the same way as betrayal, the foolish king disowns and banishes his honest daughter and noble servant in the beginning of the play because he believed that they were disloyal to him. Kent, Lear’s servant who defended Cordelia, tells Lear, “See better, Lear, and let me still remain/ The true blank of thine eye.” (1.1.158-159). Kent’s words to Lear signify how Lear should pay attention to distinguish the loyal from the disloyal rather than to be blind. Kent recommends that he can remain as Lear’s servant to guide him in making proper decisions. However, Lear eventually realizes the mistakes he had made when he gave his power and land to his two manipulative daughters and disowned Cordelia. He sympathizes with his blind follower, Gloucester and cries out to him in disappointment of not being able to see the lies in his children all this time: “If thou wilt weep my fortunes, take my eyes/ I know thee well enough. Thy name is Gloucester/ Thou must patient. We came crying hither. Thou know’st the first time that we smell the air/ We wawl and cry.” (4.4.164-168). From Lear’s words, Shakespeare displays how people eventually view their mistakes from not perceiving the truth. Shakespeare’s symbol of blindness shows how regret and consequences may occur in an individual from not being able to see …show more content…
The motif of betrayal signifies how familial domains may be wicked and how actions can speak louder than words, blindness metaphorically symbolizes how people cannot see reality, insanity shows the hidden wisdom beneath an individual, and justice conveys how the world is unjust and how the good can suffer. The last theme that Shakespeare uses is compassion, which speaks the good in humans. The themes and symbols present in King Lear connect to relatable situations in everyday life. With these concepts in mind, Shakespeare invites his readers to uncover the reality of the

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