King lear 2

In Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, King Lear, the issue of sight and its relevance to clear vision is a recurring theme. Shakespeare’s means of portraying this theme is through the characters of Lear and Gloucester. Although Lear can physically see, he is blind in the sense that he lacks insight, understanding, and direction. In contrast, Gloucester becomes physically blind but gains the type of vision that Lear lacks. It is evident from these two characters that clear vision is not derived solely from physical sight. Lear’s failure to understand this is the principal cause of his demise, while Gloucester learns to achieve clear vision, and consequently avoids a fate similar to Lear’s.
Throughout most of King Lear, Lear’s vision is clouded by his lack of insight. Since he cannot see into other people’s characters, he can never identify them for who they truly are. When Lear is angered by Cordelia, Kent tries to reason with Lear but he is too stubborn to listen. Lear responds to Kent’s opposition by saying he never wants to see Kent. Kent was only trying to do what was best for Lear, but Lear could not see that. Later, Lear’s vision is so superficial that he is easily duped by the physical garments and simple disguise that Kent wears. Lear cannot see who Kent really is. He only learns of Kent’s noble and honest character just prior to his death, when his vision is cleared. By this time, however, it is too late for an honest relationship to be salvaged. Lear’s vision is also marred by his lack of direction in life, and his poor foresight, his inability to predict the consequences of his actions. He cannot look far enough into the future to see the consequences of his actions. This, in addition to his lack of insight into other people, condemns his relationship with his most beloved daughter, Cordelia. When Lear asks his daughters who loves him most, he already thinks that Cordelia has the most love for him. However, when Cordelia says, “I love your Majesty/According to my bond, no more nor less” (I.i.94-95), Lear cannot see what these words really mean. Goneril and Regan put on an act they do not truly love Lear as much as they should. Goneril and Regan, however, fool Lear, into thinking that they love him. Kent, who has sufficient insight, is able to see through the dialogue and knows that Cordelia is the only daughter who actually loves Lear. Lear, however, lacks the insight that Kent has. He only sees what is on the surface, and cannot understand the deeper intentions of the daughters’ speeches. As his anger grows from the argument, his foresight diminishes as he becomes increasingly rash and narrow minded . When Lear disowns Cordelia, he cannot see far enough into the future to understand the consequences of this action. Ironically, he later discovers that Cordelia is the only daughter he wants to see, asking her to forget him. By this time, he has finally started to gain some direction, and his vision is cleared, but it is too late for his life to be saved. His lack of precognition had condemned him from the beginning. Lear depicts Shakespeare’s theme of clear vision by demonstrating that physical sight does not guarantee clear sight.
Gloucester depicts this theme by demonstrating clear vision, despite the total lack of physical sight. Prior to the loss of his eyes, Gloucester’s vision was much like Lear’s. He could not see what was truly going on around him. Instead, he only saw what was presented to him on the surface. When Edmund shows him the letter that is supposedly from Edgar, it takes very little convincing for Gloucester to believe it. As soon as Edmund mentions that Edgar could be plotting against him, Gloucester calls Edgar a villian. He does not even stop to consider whether Edgar would do such a thing because he cannot see into Edgar’s character. At this point, Gloucester’s life is headed down a path of damnation similar to Lear’s because of a similar lack of sight. When Gloucester is captured by Cornwall, Gloucester provokes him to pluck out his eyes. From this point onwards, Gloucester learns to see clearly by using his heart to see instead of his eyes. It is evident that he realizes this when he says that he has no need for eyes because when he had them, he could not see clearly. He realizes that when he had eyes, he was confident that he could see, while in reality, he could not see until his eyes were removed. Afterwards, he sees with his mind instead of his eyes.

Gloucester’s vision can be contrasted with that of Lear. While Lear has the physical sight that Gloucester lost, Gloucester has the clearer vision that Lear will never gain. When Lear and Gloucester meet near the cliffs of Dover, Lear questions Gloucester’s state. Lear cannot relate to Gloucester because his vision is not clear, and he wonders how Gloucester can see without eyes. 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. This is a concept that Lear will never understand.
In King Lear, clear vision is an attribute portrayed by the main characters of the two plots. While Lear portrays a lack of vision, Gloucester learns that clear vision does not emanate from the eye. Throughout this play, Shakespeare is saying that the world cannot truly be seen with the eye, but with the heart. The physical world that the eye can detect can accordingly hide its evils with physical attributes, and thus clear vision cannot result from the eye alone. Lear’s downfall was a result of his failure to understand that appearance does not always represent reality. Gloucester avoided a similar demise by learning the relationship between appearance and reality. If Lear had learned to look with more than just his eyes, he might have avoided this tragedy.

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King lear

In Shakespeare’s non-fictional novel King Lear foretold of a King whose emotions clouded his judgment. King Lear suns begins to realize the truth as his character begins to suffer, both emotionally and physically. Lear was a foolish old man, his weakness was that he yearned flattery. This causes his actions all come from his emotions, not his process of reasoning. Lear’s fear of the truth also clouds his judgment and causes his to repetition his words, by doing so he never gets to solving his problems.


During Act I Lear’s love for adulation was the strongest. Lear no longer wanted all the power that he had so he divided his kingdom amongst his three daughters. Goneril, the oldest, told him that she loved him all. She says that Lear is priceless, 1″Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare”, Goneril also blesses him with grace, health, beauty, and honor. Regan, the second daughter, tries to exaggerate her love so that it is more than her sister’s. She says that Goneril doesn’t love Lear as much as she does, in fact, her father’s love has already made her happy. King Lear is very happy with his daughters so far, after each one’s turn he gave them a part of his kingdom. When it was Cordelia’s turn, whom which was Lear’s favorite daughter, she spoke the truth. She told him that she loved him only the way that a daughter could. If she was to marry then she would love him half and her husband half. Lear was angry with this, even though it was the truth, it might have been that he didn’t expect an answer of that type. After this, Cordelia was disowned by her father and banned from her homeland. This decision made by Lear was foolish, Cordelia was the only daughter that was pure and loyal to him. She shows this by admitting her true amount of love for him, she did not follow he sister’s and lie. Even though if she exaggerated her love she would still be with her father, but it seems that Cordelia did not want her father’s love and wealth under false pretenses.

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Lear’s other weakness is that his actions originate from his emotions not his reasoning. When Lear acts, he does not think about the consequences. He only acts on how he feels at that certain time, but eventually his actions his cause him great suffering much later. When Cordelia told him the truth, Lear became angry and his train of thought became shadowed. His anger told him that he should punish her, so Cordelia was banished from England. Later when Kent advises that his decision was faulty, Kent was also banished. But by banishing the two people that is loyal to him, Lear is now surrounded by his enemies. Lear somehow does not realize this, his negative emotions are focused on his ‘betrayers’ so he does not realize the plot against him. The same situation reappears when Lear realizes that Goneril and Regan are plotting to eliminate his power. Instead of trying to stop what is happening, Lear starts complaining to his subjects. Through his enragement and madness he keeps repeating himself.As the King of England, Lear was not used to solving his own problems, so he goes around the problem, not trying to solve it but trying to make it smaller by drowning himself in pity.


By not going directly to the solution, Lear shows that he is afraid of the truth. Lear does not want to admit that he no longer has any power. These two clashes in reality causes Lear to create his own reality. Soon Lear does not realize that he is nothing, he is no longer that King of England. In Act V, Scene III, Lear and Cordelia are held captive by Edmund. Instead of realizing that they were going to die, Lear goes into a state of happiness because he is with the daughter that he has wronged. In Lear’s reality, Cordelia is with him and they are in a happy place. Lear begins to speak of what they will be doing together in the future, 2″And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh”. Even though the doctor has confirmed that Lear is now sane, so one has to conclude that Lear knows exactly what is happening but he chooses not to confirm it. By doing so, he is putting not only his life but also Cordelia’s life in jeopardy.
Shakespeare’s character King Lear was portrayed as a absurd old-aged man. Who knew of nothing around him, who chose not to acknowledge the truth but to instead create an alternate reality for himself. Lear’s emotions, what he liked, and what he hated to do, all had a immense effect on what would happen to him. Especially the considerable amount of suffering that would come his way.

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