Essay on The Theme of Blindness in King Lear by William Shakespeare

862 Words4 Pages
The Theme of Blindness in King Lear by William Shakespeare Shakespeare's King Lear tells of the tragedies of two families. At the head of each family is a father who cannot see his children for what they are. Both fathers are lacking in perceptiveness, so the stories of the two families run parallel to each other. In Lear's case, two of his daughters fool him into believing their lies. Lear shuts out his third daughter because she cannot her love into words the way he wants her to. Gloucester, similarly, forbids the son that truly loves him, while putting all his trust into the son who betrays him. Both Lear and Gloucester lack the direction and insight that it takes to see reality, instead they see only physically. Lear does not…show more content…
Gloucester even trusts Edmund with incriminating news of a French invasion. He tells Edmund, " Say you nothing " ( III.iii.8 ). Edmund says to himself after Gloucester has left, "This courtesy forbid thee shall the Duke Instantly know, and of that letter too. This seems a fair deserving, and must draw me That which my father loses-no less than all. The younger rises when the old doth fall" ( III.iv.21-25 ). Edmund immediately says he will betray his father in order to gain his inheritance. Gloucester never sees Edmund's plan against him because he does not truly understand Edmund. Edmund's betrayal eventually leads to Gloucester's physical blindness. With the loss of his physical sight, though, Gloucester learns to see with his heart. Gloucester says " I have no way and therefore want no eyes; I stumbled when I saw ( IV.i.19-20 ). He is saying that his eyes cannot show him the reality he sees now, so he has no use for eyes. Gloucester finds his sense of insight just in time to save his life from his son Edmund. He sees Edmund as an evil man and Edgar as the loyal and loving son that he is. Lear also cannot see people for who they are throughout most of the story. His lack of insight causes him to be fooled by his two ungrateful daughters. When Lear asks his daughters to publicly profess their love to him in return for a dowry, his two eldest daughters are eager to please. Goneril, the eldest daughter says, " Sir, I love you more than word
Get Access