Essay about Sight and Blindness in King Lear

1629 Words Oct 12th, 2010 7 Pages
Sight and Blindness in King Lear
In King Lear, the recurring images of sight and blindness associated with the characters of Lear and Gloucester illustrate the theme of self-knowledge and consciousness that exist in the play.
These classic tropes are inverted in King Lear, producing a situation in which those with healthy eyes are ignorant of what is going on around them, and those without vision appear to "see" the clearest. While Lear's "blindness" is one which is metaphorical, the blindness of Gloucester, who carries the parallel plot of the play, is literal. Nevertheless, both characters suffer from an inability to see the true nature of their children, an ability only gained once the two patriarchs have plummeted to the utter depths
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This, in addition to his lack of insight into other people, condemns his relationship with his most beloved daughter, Cordelia. When Lear asks his daughters, who loves him most, he already thinks that Cordelia has the most love for him. However, when Cordelia says: "I love your Majesty according to my bond, no more nor less." (I, i, 94-95) Lear cannot see what these words really mean. Goneril and Regan are only putting on an act. They do not truly love Lear as much as th...

Shakespeare uses subplots to dramatize the action of the play and give spark on the contrast for the themes in King Lear. Sub plots usually improve the effect of dramatic irony and suspense. The latter, which is used in King Lear, gives us the understanding of the emotions of the characters in the play. This follows the parallelism between Gloucester and King Lear.
In King Lear, the subplot of Gloucester corresponds to the major plot of King Lear. Both fathers have their own loyal legitimate child and their evil and disloyal child. They are both honourable men, who have children that return to them in their time of need. Gloucester and Lear are both tormented, and their favoured child recovers their life. In the early beginning of the play, Cordelia says that her love for her father is the love between father and daughter, no more, no less. Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave My heart into my mouth. I love your Majesty According to my bond, no more nor less.

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