Blindness In King Lear Thesis

Blindness In King Lear Thesis-22
- To see or Not so see Blindness can be interpreted in many different ways, whether being referred to in the forms of physical, emotional or spiritual.As a society when we think of blindness we often think of the physical inability of the eyes to see, however we learn that in King Lear by William Shakespeare that the idea of blindness is not always going to be associated with the physical ability to see but can be symbolic to the other various forms.It is Lear’s state of blindness that stops him from understanding and accepting Cordelia’s expression of her love. This misinterpretation by Lear costs him dearly by the end of the play.

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Goneril and Regan tell Lear exactly what he wants to hear; that they both love him more than anything, even their husbands. Be as well neighbored, pitied, and relieved As thou my sometime daughter” (1. 108-119) Lear’s anger-ridden speech does not hide his frustration, and it is obvious that this will have a negative impact later in the play.

Goneril uses wit, deceit and Lear naivety to create such an indulgent speech of which no father could disapprove: “I love you more than word can wield the matter; Dearer than eyesight, space and liberty, Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare, No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honor;… It is not until we hear all three daughters’ speeches that the audience fully understands Lear’s metaphorical blindness. Cordelia’s speech challenges Lear and portrays him as being less powerful than was implied earlier in the play.

Lear misinterprets their words, thinking that Goneril and Regan both love him dearly and Cordelia does not. It is strange the way Shakespeare makes the audience aware of Cordelia’s knowledge of Lear’s blindness, yet she never says anything to Lear about it.

Lear seems to be entertained by the fact that each daughter is competing against one another for his love and trust. Driven by his blindness, Lear begins to make many mistakes.

It is for this reason, when, unlike her sisters, Cordelia finds it hard to lie and Lear acts in the way that he does. He not only loses his devoted daughter; but also banishes his most loyal servant, Kent. 92-93) It seems Cordelia does a poor job of expressing the fact that she truly loves her father. 96-98) It may be said that even though she feels honor and love for her father, she has failed him by not telling him what he wants to hear.


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