Ironically, Gloucester can only see his error when he cannot see the world around him. When Gloucester has his eyes plucked out and suffers permanent blindness, he laments, “O my follies! Then Edgar was abused./ Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him!” (III,vii,92-93). His physical and emotional suffering makes him see the truth that Edmund is the son that never loved him, and the loyal son is the banished Edgar. Since Gloucester cannot express penitence to his loving son, he instead relies on divine powers for forgiveness and Edgar’s prosperity. In his troubled mind, Gloucester formed the idea that the only path the gods have given him for atonement is suicide. He attempts this by throwing himself off a cliff. After believing that he survived the fall, he says, “I do remember now. Henceforth I’ll bear/ Affliction till it do cry out itself,/ “Enough, enough,” and die” (IV,vi,75-77). Gloucester believes that he is alive because of a miracle from the angels. He comes to the conclusion that if they want him to live and persevere, then he must do so and only die when allowed. Gloucester must obey the heavens because only the gods can bring his salvation and Edgar’s well-being. Gloucester’s duty sees results, as he is able to receive Edgar’s love and the fulfillment of
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.
Now that he cannot see, he has to hear everything around him which helps him realize that the cannot always be seen and things are not always as they appear.” I have no way and therefore want no eyes.I stumbled when I saw. Fulloft ‘tis seen our means secure us and our mere defects prove commodities o dear son Edgar, the food of thy abused fathers warth might I but live to see thee in my touch i’d say I had eyes” (shakespear 4.1.19-25 pg. 173) Gloucester realizes his actions are a result of the hatefulnessthat he had when he first got news that Edgar wants to kill him. Which is an example of realizing what you cannot see, through all the trouble Gloucester endures because of his actions he finally sees the truest nature of his peers.
In Act one, scene one, we are introduced to Gloucester and his parallel plot line before we introduced to Lear. We find Gloucester acknowledging his equal adoration between his two sons, the one legitimate, the other illegitimate. The moral code that informs King Lear dictates that illegitimacy bodes nothing but a disadvantage to the harmony of underlying order . Within the terms of the play, Gloucester's emotion is a fatal flaw of judgment. Paying close attention to language, Gloucester's unwitting mistake from Edmund's very first appearance; in a world where the only vocabulary of each character is a full expression of their position on the axis of good and evil, a reader cannot help but notice that Edmund's "... I shall study deserving..."(I.i.24) is a foreboding of the deceit and greed that will taint him for the rest of the play.
In the play King Lear, the two characters Gloucester and King Lear, both run on very parallel paths. the turning point in the play where the reader starts to feel sorry for them is as soon as things start to go bad for them. Early in the play, Lear makes bad decisions on which daughters to give his land and power to, while Gloucester is making Edmund feel bad for being a bastard. Their decisions blow up in their faces and the reader starts to feel bad for them. King Lear is driven to madness and Gloucester has his eyes gouged out and want to kill himself. The impressions on both of these characters change throughout the course of the play in the same way.
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
This leaves Lear without change, although he is gaining internal knowledge he is unable to fully use it because of his inability to make conscious sound decisions. Once Lear is able to think clearly again he realizes once again the mistakes he has made, this realization allows him to improve the knowledge he has leading to a slight increase in power. However just as he acts on his knew found knowledge he and Cordelia die in capture, leaving him again with no power. While this is occurring Gloucester is hitting another low point in his amount of power. After seeing Lear’s state he attempts to commit suicide, after he thinks he is dying he states, “Away, and let me die” (4.6.60). This action shows that he no longer has power because he has given up. The actions of those around Gloucester allow him to finally know the amount of disloyalty of those surrounding him when learning the truth about his sons, and their untrue attitudes towards him, gaining insight about
Gloucester is exactly like Lear in the sense that Lear picked the wrong to disown and turn away from. Edmund, Gloucester’s son who had been gone for 9 years, was extremely jealous of his brother Edgar. Edmund then lies and manipulates both Edgar and Gloucester by telling Gloucester that Edgar is plotting against him and wants to kill him. This then causes Gloucester to become exceedingly angry and sent Edmund out to bring Edgar back to him (Lear 1.2.105). In comparison with that story King Lear turned away from his one daughter, Cordelia, who truly cared for him only because she would not confess her love for him. While his other two daughters, Regan and Goneril, were trying to kill Lear off and take his money and power (Lear 1.1.90-95).
Blindness is a motif that readers see throughout King Lear in many characters such as Lear and Gloucester since they are unable to see the truth. Although blindness in the modern world is defined as not having sight, William Shakespeare tells readers that being able to see does not mean morally and spiritually you can see. Lear’s blindness causes him not to see the treachery behind Goneril and Regan at the beginning of the play which causes him to lose his throne and go mad near the end. Also Gloucester is also blind as he does not see the lies hidden behind the truths that Edmund tells him and later when Cornwall pulls out Gloucester’s eyes, Gloucester is able to see the truths and realizes that Edgar is the legitimate son. Shakespeare shows us throughout King Lear that seeing is more than just through our eyes. The play is centered on true visions and blindness.
The Earl of Gloucester, a father with one good and one evil son, parallels to King Lear and his daughters. Gloucester is depicted as a foolish old man, unable to see through Edmund's lies. By mistaking Edmund's motives, Gloucester is blind to the events occurring around him, even before Cornwall blinds him. It is obvious he is not intuitive or quick enough to understand the plotting going on around him. He constantly blames events on the stars, and thus, he absolves himself of any responsibility for his own actions.
“Tis the times' plague, when madmen lead the blind” (4.1.46-47). In the tragedy King Lear, blindness is a key theme that is repeatedly mentioned and represented in many different forms. Throughout the novel, blindness is most often developed in the forms of mental and physical blindness. For King Lear and Gloucester specifically, blindness leads them to decisions that they will later regret in the play, and Gloucester’s actual blindness is a mirror image of Lear’s spiritual blindness. King Lear’s main plot and Gloucester’s sub-plot are almost identical, and by both of them being blinded for a majority of the novel, they both come to realize the truth in what is actually occurring in their families.
The theme of consciousness is underscored by the Gloucester plot in King Lear. Gloucester, like Lear, is an aging man who has yet to learn the true nature of his children. In this way, he shares Lear's metaphorical blindness, but Shakespeare does not stop there; he adds the physical impairment of vision to Gloucester's character as well. It is mentioned that Gloucester requires the need of "spectacles" in order to read the fabricated letter his son Edmund presents to him. Ironically, even with the use of an instrument to heighten his vision, Gloucester is still unable to see things as they truly are. With no prior provocation, and hardly any "ocular" proof, Gloucester immediately believes that his
Justice that is present in King Lear proves that every risky action you take will eventually catch up with you. While in an argument with Goneril a messenger runs in and proclaims to Albany, "O my good lord, the Duke of Cornwall’s dead, slain by his servant, going to put out the other eye of Gloucester" (Shakespeare IV.II.69-72). Through a rush of power lust and arrogance, the Duke of Cornwall makes the decision to gouge out the eyes of Gloucester. The need to go through with this action is not being forced upon Cornwall and a much simpler discipline could have be given out for Gloucester's supposed betrayal. Due to Cornwall's extreme actions, one of the servants chooses to be a martyr for justice and use their own extreme actions to violently slay Cornwall. Without the rebellious initial actions taking place by Cornwall there would be no need for justice to occur and the death of Cornwall could have been prevented.
Lear was not the only character to suffer from blindness, Gloucester too, had lack of insight. He could not see the goodness of his son Edgar, and the wickedness of Edmund. A forged letter was the only evidence needed to convince Gloucester that Edgar was plotting to kill him. Immediately after reading the letter Gloucester screams in a rage;
Like Lear, Gloucester fails to see the true nature of his children and also invokes the language of nature in blind ways. After wrongly condemning Edgar he calls Edmund a "loyal and natural boy" (II. i. 85).