Blindness in King Lear

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In the play King Lear, the darkest tragedies, by Shakespeare, blindness is a major factor of all tragic events that occur in the play. Blindness represents Lear's and Gloucester's the inability to see the truth, which eventually leads to Lear's insanity and Gloucester's literal blindness. Lear and Gloucester make the same mistake by favoring the unloving children over the loving ones due to their blindness in the face of truth. They realize the cruelty of life and the insignificance of human comparing to nature after they lost almost everything they've ever had; yet they redeem love and humanity, the most valuable things that they can ever ask for. The parallel can be easily drawn between Lear and Gloucester. When dividing the kingdom, Lear gives all the authority to Goneril and Regan only because they flatter Lear with overblown words of "love"; and he disowns Cordelia for she can't express enough "love" for him. This action of Lear's shows his inability to distinguish true love with insincere praises that are made to obtain power. He should have more common sense that Cordelia, being his favorite daughter, loves him the most; but the fear of being abandoned and absolute powerless as an old man after retirement makes him request the prove of love and need to reassure his importance. However, as soon as Goneril and Regan are declared power, they begin scheming to take all Lear's authority away and leave him with "the infirmity of age"(I,i,296). On the other hand, Gloucester believes Edmund's lies about Edgar wanting to kill their father to claim authority. Gloucester fears of losing power for that he already suspects his children secretly want to destroy him; as a result, he is totally convinced by Edmund, and Edgar, being told that Gloucester is angry at him, flees the kingdom. Ironically, Edmund is the one who has been planing to take over Gloucester's seat.

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