Selfish Blindness In King Lear

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Selfish Blindness
Blindness can be defined in two ways. Literal blindness is not being able to physically see the world around. Metaphorical blindness can be used to represent people who act and react as if they were blind, as if decisions made do not affect anyone around. In King Lear, blindness is shown both ways. The characters of Lear and Gloucester struggle because both have been blinded by selfishness. Lear and Gloucester’s blindness push them to make bad decisions and trust the wrong people, both only gained vision when becoming powerless.
Lear and Gloucester’s blindness lead them to making horrible decisions. “Here I disclaim all my paternal care/ Propinquity and property of blood, / and as a stranger to my heart and me/ Hold thee
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“Come, let’s away to prison: We two alone will sing like birds I’ th’ cage: When thou dost ask me blessing, I’ll kneel down and ask of thee forgiveness” (5.3.8-11). Only when Lear lost his power and was thrown in jail did he realize his blindness. He stopped being selfish, all he wanted was Cordelia’s forgiveness. “Prove our commodities. Oh dear son Edgar, the food of they abused Father’s wrath! Might I but live to see thee in my touch. I’d say I had eyes again!” (4.1.21-24). Gloucester lost everything, including his eyesight however through this he realized his blindness. He like Lear only wants his son Edgar’s forgiveness. Gloucester even ranks his sons forgiveness over regaining his own vision. “I see it feelingly” ( ). This quote can be looked at in two ways. For Gloucester, he has to see feelingly because he lost his eyesight and has to see the world through touch. However this can also be metaphorical, to see through feeling. Lear and Gloucester were blind because they didn’t see the people their actions affected, all that mattered was themselves. They had vision but it was blinded by selfishness. Only once they saw through feeling, gained vision through empathy did they truly have
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