King Lear: Blindness Vs. Sight Essay, Research Paper
Blindness vs. Sight
In the Shakespeare play, King Lear, some of the characters show that they have knowledge of what is going happening around them and some, unfortunately, do not see that the ones they love are mischievous and only out to get what they have. One character that is mostly viewed as the blind one in this play is King Lear himself. Lear?s blindness to the truth and to others that tried to help him see, brought him to his suffering and at the point of his downfall, he came to realize the truth.
In the beginning, Lear decided to divide his kingdom among his daughters; however, Cordelia and Kent tried to help him realize his mistakes. Lear did not see that giving away his kingdom is a mistake, however, he thought he had good reasons, such as that he was getting old and he did not want the troubles of running a kingdom. ?Lear?To shake all cares and businesses from our age, Conferring them on younger strengths, while we Unburthened crawl toward death.? (1.1.39-43) The King asked his daughters to profess their love for him in the court before everyone, so that he will know how much of the kingdom to give to each daughter. Goneril and Regan praised Lear because they know how much he likes to be praised. However, they did not mean what they say as they only what a part of the kingdom, but Lear was to blinded by his pride. However, his favourite and last daughter, Cordelia, truly loved him and could not find the words to express her love. Lear disowned her. ?Lear. Here I disclaim all my paternal care, Propinquity and property of blood, And as a stranger to my heart and me Hold thee
from this forever.? (1.1.115-118) Lear could not see that Kent is his loyal friend and was
only trying to help him see the truth. Kent tells him that his daughter, Cordelia, truly loves but the other two hold only empty hearts. Lear banished Kent also. ?Kent. Royal Lear, Whom I?ve ever honoured as my king, Loved as my father, as my master followed, As my great patron thought on in my prayers-? (1.1.142-5)
Kent saw Lear?s mistakes and he tried to make him realize this. He also saw that Goneril and Regan did not love him but only wanted the kingdom. Kent saw that Cordelia loved him the most even though she could not say it. ?Kent. Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least, Nor are those empty-hearted whose low sounds Reverb no hollowness.? (1.1.154-156) Cordelia saw that her father was making a mistake by dividing the kingdom between his first two daughters and also disowning her. ?Cordelia. Time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides, Who covers faults, at last shame them derides.? (1.1.282-284) Kent was still loyal to the King, therefore he returned to the kingdom to guide Lear to the truth. ?Kent. I do profess to be no less than I seem, to serve him truly that will put me in trust?? (1.4.14-18) Lear was blinded from the beginning and unfortunately he banished Cordelia and Kent who were his eyes.
Lear suffered through many hardships because he was blind. Lear was badly treated by Goneril. She also ordered her servant, Oswald and others to treat Lear badly and with disrespect. ?Goneril. When he returns from hunting, I will not speak with him. Say I am sick. If you come slack of former services, You shall do well; the fault of it I?ll answer.? (1.3.8-11) Lear became tired of Goneril?s ill-treatment towards, therefore he
goes to Regan?s kingdom. However, she made demands upon Lear to not bring his knights. ?Regan. What need you five-and-twenty? ten? or five? To follow in a house where twice so many Have a command to tend to?? (2.4.260-262) Lear suffered mentally as he was not used to not having the luxuries of his castle and also not being listened to. Kent learns that Lear walked out into the storm. ?Kent. I know you. Where?s the King? Gentleman. Contending with the fretful elements: Bids the wind blow the earth into the sea?? (3.1.3-13)
Kent, even though he was disguised, helped the King from his ill treatment from Goneril and Oswald. When Oswald disrespected the King, Kent took offence to it and they both fought. ?Kent. Draw, you rogue, for though it be night, yet the moon shines.? (2.2.31-32) Cordelia kept in touch with Kent, as she knew that things were not going well. Her letter showed that she was loyal to Lear. ?Kent. Who hath most fortunately been informed Of my obscured course. And shall find time From this enormous state, seeking to give Losses their remedies.? (2.2.170-174) When Lear was out in the storm, Kent gave him protection from the storm by placing him in a hovel. This shows that Kent was still loyal to the King. ?Kent. Here is a place, my lord. Good my lord, enter. The tyranny of the open?s night too rough For nature to endure.? (3.4.1-4) Even though Lear suffered because of his mistakes, he still had people that were loyal to him to help him.
By the end of the play, Lear began to see the things that Cordelia and Kent were trying to make him understand. Lear saw that Goneril and Regan do not love him but just
wanted his kingdom and power. ?Lear. Death, traitor; nothing could have subdued nature To such lowness but his unkind daughters?? (3.4.69-75) Lear became humble through his sufferings. He would not allow Gloucester to kiss his hand as he has suffered. ?Gloucester. O, let me kiss that hand! Lear. Let me wipe it first; it smells of mortality.? (4.6.134-135) Lear also did not like when he was mocked as in contrast to the beginning where the Fool would always mock him and he did not mind. He tells Cordelia that she should not mock him and that he was foolish. ?Lear. Pray, do not mock me: I am a very foolish fond old man.? (4.7.59-60)
Cordelia died in the end of the play. She was hanged and found. Lear carries her in his arms. ?Lear. A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all! I might have saved her: now she?s gone forever.? (5.3.271-272) Kent is supposed to have committed suicide. He says that his master (Lear) calls. He then left the scene. ?Kent. I have a journey, sir, shortly to go; My master calls me, I must not say no.? (5.3.323-324) Regan and Goneril also died in the end. This shows that all bad things happen to the good people. Goneril poisons Regan and then after kills herself with a knife. ?Regan. Sick, O, sick! Goneril. If not, I?ll ne?er trust medicine.? (5.3.97-98) Even though Lear eventually realized his mistakes, he realized them too late. All of his daughters, his loyal servant Kent and himself die in the end.
Lear was blind to Cordelia?s love and to his other daughters empty hearts. He was blind from the beginning and through his sufferings, he came to realize his mistakes.
He realized that Cordelia truly loved him and his other two daughters just 7wanted his
kingdom. However, through Lear?s mistakes, some good came out of it such as he became humble a humble man.
Skaespeare, King Lear