Lear can "see" through a sympathetic lens, after having exchanged the pride for shame, revealing to us that mental blindness can be more damaging than physical blindness. While Gloucester, who willingly admits that "[he] stumbled when [he] saw," is only able to "see," though sightless, after he has suffered (4.1.20). Only through the physical pain of losing his sight was Gloucester able to see the truth of his sons. Unquestionably, the plots of Lear and Gloucester run similar courses. However, Shakespeare employs Gloucester's plot to clarify Lear's plot. Through the physical blinding of Gloucester, Shakespeare provides an equivalent, which contextualizes King Lear's theme of consciousness and allows Lear's own metaphorical blindness to be fully
After having both eyes gouged out by the Duke of Cornwall, Gloucester exclaims: “O my follies! Then Edgar was abused” (3.7.91). Unaware of Edmund’s betrayal, Gloucester had earlier told Edmund about his alliance with France in their invasion of England. Wanting to remove his father from power, Edmund conveys this information to the Duke of Cornwall and as a punishment, Gloucester has his eyes gouged out. This quote is important because it ties directly into the theme of “Blindness vs Sight.” Although he is literally blinded, it is at this moment that Gloucester is able to see the truth. Previously, he believes his son Edgar has betrayed him and therefore places his trust onto his other son, Edmund. Upon losing his vision, he finally regains his sight by realising Edgar’s innocence and Edmund’s treachery.
When you think of blindness you think of sight and when you think of ignorance you think of knowledge. Throughout the play Oedipus, sight and blindness imagery is very noticeable, along with ignorance and knowledge. Sophocles creates Oedipus as a character of ignorance, confidence, and good insight. The story starts out as Oedipus is the son of King Laius and Queen Jocasta. The oracle told the parents that their son would kill his father and marry his mother. The parents refused to let this happen and sent the servant to pin Oedipus’s feet together and leave him on the mountain to die. The messenger knew this was not right and stepped in immediately to help the poor child. As Oedipus grew older he found out the truth about his life and why certain things happened. Over time, Oedipus's blindness shows him the lack of knowledge he knew about his true life story.
The protagonist of the play Macbeth, coordinately named Macbeth, is proven to be blind from the opening of his role in the play. Written by William Shakespeare, the play shadows many other works of his, in a sense that the majority of the most important pieces of information to the plot are delivered indirectly. An example of this in Macbeth is the frequency of characters, Macbeth more than others, to reference vision, and the ability to see while describing an event. The difference between Macbeth and other characters is that while he speaks about life and the ability to see it with his own eyes, the statement is always negative, suggesting his literal blindness. Examples of this can be found throughout all acts of the
In many countries around the world, ignorance carries a considerable weight in politics, households, between friends, and in other vicinities. This ignorance can be depicted as blindness of the mind. In the Greek philosopher Sophocles’ play, Oedipus the King, Oedipus’ family and friends share their blindness in the fact that they love Oedipus and don’t have a desire to know the truth of his ruined past. They keep things from Oedipus and end up withholding the actualities of life from themselves in the process. Sophocles urges the reader that the love people clutch to can cause people to lose sight of the truth. He then expands on the blindness, demonstrating the idea that when the truth comes out, it pulls the love a person feels for another into darkness with it. Love is fragile, and can be easily destroyed by the opening of the eye, causing families to crumble underneath.
Although it is never too late to learn, those lessons learned in old age are the most difficult and the most costly. In his play KING LEAR, Shakespeare illustrates that wisdom does not necessarily come with age. The mistakes that Lear and Gloucester make leave them vulnerable to disappointment and suffering at a time in their lives when both should be enjoying peace and contentment. Although both Lear and Gloucester achieve wisdom before they die, they pay a dear price for having lived life blindly.
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.
“Nothing, Everything, Anything, Something: If you have nothing, then you have everything, because you have the freedom to do anything, without the fear of losing something.” (Jarod Kintz) This quote could describe the meaning and description of the word “nothing” used in the play King Lear by Shakespeare. When the characters had nothing in this play they truly gained knowledge and insight about the world around them, but they lacked this knowledge when they had everything.
The embodiment of physical and mental blindness and its importance in King Lear Blindness is usually a literal statement outlining the physical inability to see has become a metaphorical statement in Shakespearian text that speaks on the mental incapacity to be aware of the intentions that lay beneath what the eye can see. The play King Lear upholds and exhibits the theme of literal and metaphorical blindness through characters such King Lear, Gloucester, and Albany and their actions. King Lear being one of the most important characters in the play has a large weakness when it comes to noticing the evil hiding behind Goneril and Regan’s flattery and flowery speech and the love behind the seemingly apathetic approach Cordellia had to his
King Lear is the character who suffers the most from blindness in the play. His three daughters are most likely the main cause of his mental blindness. In the very first act of the play we see that Lear is easily fooled by his two eldest daughters Regan and Goneril, and we also see his inability to realize Cordelia’s true love for him when she tells him the truth. His blindness causes a rift in the family, and Lear banishes Cordelia from the kingdom saying “Thou hast her, France; let her be thine, for we / Have no such daughter, nor shall
King Lear’s first act of blindness is when he believes his eldest daughters, Goneril and Regan’s love him. He is taken aback when Cordelia, his youngest, refuses to confess her love to him in front of the king's court, and thus Lear decides to banish her,“Thou hast her, France: let her be thine; for we/ Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see/ That face of hers again. Therefore be gone/ Without our grace, our love, or bension” (1, 1, 285-288) Lear is banishing Cordelia, ‘[...] nor shall ever see/ That face of hers again. Therefor be gone/[...]’ The naive king believes that his favorite daughter is unfaithful because she refuses to express her love by throwing up words to please his image to the courtship. He is blind to the tricky of Regan
Greed; the inventor and enforcer of injustice. The selfish desire for power overtakes all morals and values, which is shown prominently in the classic tragedy, King Lear. The characters of Lear and Gloucester discover the effect of injustice through betrayal and the silence of their gods. Their journeys of self- discovery are shown through Shakespeare’s use of symbolism, literary devices and parallelism. Though one could argue that the banishment and dismissal of those close to them creates an initial catalyst for chaos throughout the kingdom, the fate of these characters calls the Elizabethan audience to question whether actions or beliefs decide ones destiny.
“I have no way, and therefore want no eyes./ I stumbled when I saw.” (4.1.18) This quote encompasses the echoing theme of blindness versus sight; an important facet in the understanding of William Shakespeare’s play King Lear. This theme is especially exhibited through the parallel between the two main protagonists King Lear and the Earl of Gloucester, whose hamartia impedes their ability to recognize the truth. Both characters go through similar journey’s as their blindness towards their deceptive children’s motive leads them to act irrationally. It is not until their demise in which they gain sight. The understanding of King Lear’s metaphorical blindness, Gloucester’s literal blindness and a comparison of the two cases, leads to explicating
Lear’s blindness could be a result of his believe in his power as a king. He just can’t imagine that somebody would try and fool the king like that.