• Home   /  
  • Archive by category "1"

King Lear Blindness And Sight Essay

King Lear: Examination Between Sight And Blindness

An Examination of the Inverse Tropes of Sight and Blindness in King Lear

In King Lear, the recurring images of sight and blindness associated with the characters of Lear and Gloucester illustrate the theme of self-knowledge and consciousness that exist in the play.

These classic tropes are inverted in King Lear, producing a situation in which those with healthy eyes are ignorant of what is going on around them, and those without vision appear to "see" the clearest. While Lear's "blindness" is one which is metaphorical, the blindness of Gloucester, who carries the parallel plot of the play, is literal. Nevertheless, both characters suffer from an inability to see the true nature of their children, an ability only gained once the two patriarchs have plummeted to the utter depths of depravity. Through a close reading of the text, I will argue that Shakespeare employs the plot of Gloucester to explicate Lear's plot, and, in effect, contextualizes Lear's metaphorical blindness with Gloucester's physical loss of vision.

When the audience is first introduced to Lear, he is portrayed as a raging, vain old man who can not see the purity of his daughter Cordelia's love for him from the insincerity of her sisters Goneril and Regan. In his fiery rage after disowning Cordelia, Lear commands to Kent, "Out of my sight!" (1.1.156). Kent fittingly implores the aging king to "See better, Lear; and let me still remain / The true blank of thine eye" (1.1.157-8). Kent recognizes love in its most noble form in the person of Cordelia, and is able to see through the hypocrisy of Lear's other two daughters. In beseeching Lear to "[s]ee better," Kent is, in effect, asking Lear to look beyond his vanity and inward pride to see the honesty of Cordelia, who refuses to put her love for her father on show.

From the very first act of the play, then, Shakespeare has set up the theme of consciousness, using the metaphor of sight. Kent's imperative to "see better" is prompting Lear not to use his faculty of vision, but, metaphorically, to become conscious of what is going on around him; to see the world as it truly is. It is fascinating that, upon Kent's imperative, Lear swears, "Now, by Apollo-" (1.1.159). As Apollo is the god of the sun whose maxim is to "know thyself," it is particularly telling that Lear is invoking the god associated with sharpness of vision and light, when he, himself, remains unenlightened. The unrelenting Kent, recognizes Lear's blindness as well as the futility of invoking the god of self-knowledge, and, despite the king's growing anger, declares, "Thou swear'st thy gods in vain" (1.1.161).

The theme of consciousness is underscored by the Gloucester plot in...

Loading: Checking Spelling


Read more

The Theme Of Blindness in King Lear

1785 words - 7 pages In Shakespearean terms, blinds means a whole different thing. 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. Shakespeare's most dominant theme in his play

A Consideration of the Way Shakespeare Presents and Develops the Theme of Blindness in King Lear

2328 words - 9 pages A Consideration of the Way Shakespeare Presents and Develops the Theme of Blindness in King Lear Introduction ============ Throughout ‘King Lear’, Shakespeare uses the play’s characters to make judgements on society using blindness as a metaphor that runs through the play. He does this in a number of ways portraying characters that can be fooled by others’ flattery, or are easily manipulated or deceived, or...

"King Lear" by Shakespeare - Examination of Edmund.

700 words - 3 pages In order to understand the characteristic of any character, especially Edmund, one must be aware of his background. In the beginning of the play, "King Lear," the reader views Edmund as a character who should be pitied upon; not as how critics assert him to be one of the most evil characters in all of literature. This viewpoint of Edmund is evident in the proceeding pages...

The Fate of The Blind. Interprets blindness in King Lear (by Shakepseare) and Oedipus

2022 words - 8 pages 'There's a divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them how we will.' These words from Hamlet are echoed, even more pessimistically, in Shakespeare's later play, The Tragedy of King Lear where Gloucester says: 'Like flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods, they kill us for their sport'. In Lear, the characters are subjected to the various tragedies of life over and over...

The Role of Blindness played in King Lear

869 words - 3 pages Blindness and decision making can be viewed upon as having the same similarities. Blindness can be seen as a physical flaw, and not the metal blindness as in the ability to recognize what one perceives. Decision-making, like blindness is related by the roles in which people play. Together blindness and decision-making are key elements in true caricatures of one's self.In the play

"The Stone Angel" vs "King Lear": Blindness,Insight

1458 words - 6 pages Blindness; a flaw with insight`It was once said, "What you lose in blindness is the space around you, the place where you are, and without that you might not exist. You could be nowhere at all."(Kingslover) This is a quote that can relate the characters in The

Blindness in "King Lear" as well as in my own life

1233 words - 5 pages Blindness and decision-making can be visional upon having the same resemblance. Blindness can normally be defined as the incapability of the eye to see, but according to Shakespeare, blindness in not a physical quality, but a mental flaw some people have. Decision-making, like blindness is related by the roles in which people play. Together blindness and decision-making are key elements in true caricatures of one's self. This is demonstrated...

Mini Speech - An examination of the nature of evil in King Lear.

746 words - 3 pages An examination of the nature of evilDefining the term "evil" is a difficult task. Searching for its meaning in the dictionary led me to countless other words such as 'wicked', 'harmful', 'heinous', 'black', and 'villainous'. Needless to say, I didn't find the simplistic explaination that I had hoped for. This in itself proves that the nature of evil is opened to intepretation and debate.Labelling an individual as 'evil' isn't...

Sight and Blindness in Oedipus Rex

759 words - 3 pages Sight and Blindness in Oedipus Rex Oedipus Rex is a play about the way we blind ourselves to painful truths that we can’t bear to see. Physical sight and blindness are used throughout the play, often ironically, as a metaphor for mental sight and blindness. The play ends with the hero Oedipus literally blinding himself to avoid seeing the result of his terrible fate. But as the play demonstrates, Oedipus, the man who killed his father...

Confrontations Between Young and Old in Shakespeare's King Lear

1901 words - 8 pages Confrontations Between Young and Old in King Lear       One of the underlying themes in Shakespeare's play, King Lear is the concept of the generation gap.  This gap is mainly illustrated between the family.  The older generation is Lear himself, and the younger generation consists of his daughters Goneril, Regan and Cordelia.  In the second plot of the play, Gloucester represents the older generation, and his sons,...

The Battle Between Materialism and Spirituality in Shakespeare's King Lear

930 words - 4 pages The centuries-old dilemma between materialism and spiritualism has embedded itself in the Western conscience as the defining question of reality and manifests itself in works of literature throughout the ages. The relationship between materialism and spiritualism is ambiguous in and of itself. The philosophy of materialism postulates that development and change in society is centered around the interactions between material objects, whereas...

+ All King Lear Blindness Essays:

  • King Lear "Bottoming Out"
  • King Hezekiah
  • King Arthur and Lancelot
  • The Biblical Story of King David
  • Oedipus: Blindness
  • The Hamartia of Blindness in Death of a Salesman and Oedipus Rex
  • Oedipus the King
  • Stephen King Research Paper
  • The Wives of King Henry VIII
  • The Controversial Ending of King Lear by William Shakespeare
  • Performance Appraisal at Burger King
  • The Lion King
  • Comparison: Tuesdays With Morrie, by Mitch Albom & King Lear, by William Shakespeare
  • Leadership and Power in "The Lion King"
  • Medieval Kings and Popes
  • To What Extent Do You Agree with the Idea That King Lear Deserves His Fate?
  • Burger King Corporation
  • Comparing Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres and William Shakespeare's King Lear
  • Henry VIII: King of England
  • Oedipus the King: A Tragic Hero
  • Biography of Stephen King: The Horror Author
  • Blindness in Invisible Man
  • The Tragic Hero of Oedipus the King
  • Invisible Man Essay: Race, Blindness, and Monstrosity
  • King Arthur
  • The Portrayal of Blindness in The Outsider and Oedipus the King
  • Sight and Blindness in "The Invisible Man"
  • Martin Luther King jr.
  • No Such Thing as a Perfect King
  • Essay on Jocasta in Oedipus the King
  • traglear King Lear as a Bradley Tragedy
  • King Lear Act 3 Questions
  • Myths, Legends, and King Arthur
  • Tragedy Through Misreading in William Shakespeare's King Lear
  • A Comparative Analysis of the Characters of King Lear and Hidetora
  • Change Blindness
  • Oedipus the King: A Tragic Hero
  • A Comparison of "Old Goriot" and "King Lear"
  • Essay on Biblical Imagery in King Lear
  • Blindness and Sight - Sight Versus Insight in Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex)
  • Insanity and the Necessity of Madness in King Lear
  • King Alfred the Great
  • The Wandering of King Lear’s Mother
  • plotlear Parallel Plots of Shakespeare's King Lear
  • Chaos in King Lear - as Reflec
  • Sophocles' Clever Use of Dramatic Irony in Oedipus the King
  • King Tutankhamun and His Treasures
  • Importance of Self Knowledge and Forgiveness in King Lear
  • Confrontations Between Young and Old in Shakespeare's King Lear
  • The Pride of Oedipus the King
  • Tragedy in Oedipus the King and Doll's House
  • The Tragedy of King Lear Analysis
  • The Weight of “Nothing” in King Lear by William Shakespeare
  • The Role of Cordelia in King Lear
  • Characterization in Oedipus the King
  • Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr
  • Oedipus the King by Sophocles
  • Stephen King
  • Burger King
  • Burger King
  • Comapring Father/Daughter Relationships in King Lear and A Thousand Acres
  • A Review for “The Lion King”
  • Influential Kings in British History
  • King Solomon
  • 1 Kings
  • King Case Study Individual Paper
  • The Beating of Rodney King
  • Examining the Villainous Characters of Shakespeare's King Lear
  • Color Blindness and Testing in Children
  • Tragic Figures in King Lear by William Shakespeare
  • Vision and Blindness In Oedipus Tyrannus by Sophocles
  • Truth Revealed in Sophocles´ Oedipus the King
  • Oedipus the King as a Tragedy
  • Lion King Paper FInal
  • The Kings Speech
  • Burger King Case Study
  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • The Role of Femininity in Shakespeare's Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear
  • Nat King Cole
  • King Henry Viii
  • Loyal Characters in Shakespeare's King Lear
  • Oedipus the King
  • King David
  • Uncovering the Truth in Shakespeare's King Lear
  • Filial Ingratitude in Shakespeare's King Lear
  • The Evil King in Shakespeare's Richard III
  • Blindness in Richard Wright's Native Son

One thought on “King Lear Blindness And Sight Essay

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *