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King lear 2

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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 ...

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