Sight vs. Blindness in King Lear by William Shakespeare

511 WordsJan 27, 20182 Pages
The theme of sight versus blindness appears several times in the tragedy King Lear by William Shakespeare. In the opening scene of the play, we see King Lear as himself. The audience is left to explore his character on their own. The Earl of Gloucester is another character that is blinded. The theme of eyesight or lack of it refers to the physical and metaphorical blindness of the characters in the play. Lear announces that his kingdom is up for grabs but his daughters must express their love for him in order to be awarded her land. Goneril uses Lear’s state of metaphorical blindness to give a phony speech on her abundant love for her father. "I love you more than word can wield the matter; dearer than eyesight, space and liberty...rich or rare; no less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honor...beyond all matter of so much I love you" (Act I, Scene I 55-61). At this early stage in the play, we can see Lear’s lack of eyesight and Goneril’s true personality. Both Goneril and Regan’s speeches blind Lear because of their exaggerated showing of love for their father. Lear’s eyesight blinds him of reality. When it is Cordelia’s turn to deliver her speech to her father, Lear does not accept or understand his daughter’s expression of love. Goneril and Regan tell Lear what he wants to hear, however, Cordelia expresses her true feeling. Lear’s lack of sight forces him to lose his favorite daughter and also a loyal friend, Kent. Gloucester is also metaphorically

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