Homeworks academic writing service


Theme of blindness in king lear by william shakespeare

Blindness appears in various forms in both the main-plot and the sub-plot; which Shakespeare shows through the primary characters King Lear and Gloucester.

  1. Blindness appears in various forms in both the main-plot and the sub-plot; which Shakespeare shows through the primary characters King Lear and Gloucester.
  2. Gloucester is equally "blind" when it comes to telling the difference between his "good" son that would be Edgar and his bad offspring that would be Edmund —Gloucester can't tell that Edmund has manipulated him into believing Edgar wants him dead. However even though Lear may not be able to see things completely clear which are close to him.
  3. Only when Gloucester is blind can he see things for what they are.
  4. In other words, Kent implies that Lear is "blind" to the fact Cordelia is the "good" daughter while Goneril and Regan are a couple of evil spawn.

The audience see both of these characters blindness leading them to make bad decisions throughout the play. However, the audience start seeing the characters eventually regretting their bad decision, which is represented through the good deeds, they carry out. In this play Shakespeare shows how, blindness is not only a physical quality, but also a mental flaw some characters possess.

Blindness and Insight ThemeTracker

The character who is undoubtedly morally blind is to be King Lear; this may be due to his high position in society. Someone in a position of high authority is supposed to be able to distinguish bad from good; however his lack of sight prevents him from being able to do this.

This portrays him as both mentally and emotionally blind. Now that King Lear has banished him from his sight, the audience understand King Lear has become sightless. Gloucester is seen to believe Edgar has betrayed him.

Logging out…

However, Gloucester has just committed a similar blind act, by believing a letter which made his son Edgar look like a criminal, without investigating further.

He simply believes Edmund who slyly handed over a forged letter. Gloucester is as blind as King Lear because he is being blind to what may be the goodness of Edgar and the evil side of Edmund. This leads to him being stuck outside in a storm, which I believe helps him in a positive aspect as it opens his mind up, even though he is probably going through a great deal of suffering.

How Shakespeare presents and uses the theme of blindness in the play King Lear Essay

As he only thinks about the cruel things that have been done towards him and not about how he could redeem himself from cruel things he has done towards others.

He can never see his trusted servant for whom he really is. By this time, however, it is too late for the honest relationship to be salvaged. Come on my boy… art cold? I am cold myself. Here King Lear is talking to Edgar who is disguised as Poor Tom; Shakespeare shows that for once he feels sorry for someone else but himself.

  • Gloucester tells him that sight comes from within;
  • On the other hand Gloucester loses his eyesight literally because he is loyal to King Lear, so therefore studying the pattern of language in relation to blindness and madness shows the structure of the double plot that shapes the themes of the play.

The darkest point of the play is the incidence of Gloucester getting blinded, this can be interpreted in two ways, and the most important one is the audience see how cruel and evil Regan and Goneril can be.

After this scene the audience can see why this is the darkest point, as the complete evil side of Goneril and Regan is shown.

King Lear - Theme of Blindness

While Lear has the physical sight that Gloucester has lost, Gloucester has the clearer vision that Lear will never gain. Gloucester says to Lear. The audience know that Gloucester truly understands that sight is something that you feel and not just what you see.

  • The tragic errors that King Lear and Gloucester make in misjudging their children constitute a form of figurative blindness—a lack of insight into the true characters of those around them;
  • Come on my boy… art cold?

Although Lear has seen his mistakes, he still believes that sight comes only from the eyes. Gloucester tells him that sight comes from within.

Vision is the result of the mind, heart, and emotions put together, not just physical sight. However even though Lear may not be able to see things completely clear which are close to him. He has come to see the real world in a better view after losing his wealth and home he seems to understand the world more, even with a rocky state of mind, this is probably because he is able to be freer.

  1. In other words, Kent implies that Lear is "blind" to the fact Cordelia is the "good" daughter while Goneril and Regan are a couple of evil spawn.
  2. Yet, Gloucester's greater insight into the character of his two sons after he is blinded reflects an irony.
  3. Gloucester says to Lear. When Goneril forced Lear to reduce his army so that he could stay in their castle, Albany protested.
  4. Although Lear has seen his mistakes, he still believes that sight comes only from the eyes.

However, even though the audience start to feel sorry for King Lear because he has started to see the truth, they also know there has to be consequences to what he did at the start of the play, and this is most likely to be a tragic ending.

Look there look there!

At this point Lear saw everything clearly, he no longer had an unstable mind, however when he saw the complete truth, he dies, Shakespeare shows here that because of all the blindness at the start of the play the consequence was his death at the shock of truth. If the audience look closely at our theme blindness they can see that these characters may have not been physically blind but were mentally, which was transformed throughout the play because of various actions from all the characters.

  • However, Gloucester has just committed a similar blind act, by believing a letter which made his son Edgar look like a criminal, without investigating further;
  • Blindness can normally be defined as the inability of the eye to see, but according to Shakespeare, blindness is not a physical quality, but a mental flaw some people possess;
  • Although he disapproved of Goneril's actions, he would only mildly argue his case.

In my opinion, I think the theme blindness has a very close link to madness in the play, which can be also seen in figurative language that tends to link the two themes together. On the other hand Gloucester loses his eyesight literally because he is loyal to King Lear, so therefore studying the pattern of language in relation to blindness and madness shows the structure of the double plot that shapes the themes of the play.

As I believe only when Gloucester goes blind and King Lear goes mad they realize how wrong they were about their children and King Lear about Kent. Both men were blinded to the love and loyalty of their truthful children whom they banished and in blindness made their wicked children their heirs.