Essay on King Lear

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Reagan Stowell Practice Essay 1 – King Lear Ms LAWSON 22.03.2013 Page 1/2

Analyse how an idea is developed in a text (or texts) you have studied.

In Shakespeare’s classic tragedy King Lear, blindness is a recurring theme. It is a dominant theme. The idea of blindness is the inability of the characters to see a person for whom they truly are, being unable to see things as they really are. In other words, blindness is the lack of insight. Shakespeare’s point is that the world cannot be seen with eyes only. It is a combination of mind, emotion and heart. This essay will examine how the theme of blindness is developed.

A love that makes… speech unable Beyond all manner of so much I love you (Act 1.1) Goneril I find she names my very deed of love; Only she comes too short (Act 1.1) Regan Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave my heart into my mouth. I love your majesty according to my bond; no more no less. (Act1.1) Cordelia Nothing my lord (Act1.1) Cordelia Shakespeare introduces blindness as portrayed by Lear’s lack of insight into the truth of his daughters. At the onset of the play, in Act 1, scene 1, when Lear holds the love test, he cannot see past the false words offered by his two older daughters. He is blind to their ulterior motives. Lear fails to see things in perspective when Regan and Goneril bedazzle him with their empty comments. This blindness is re-iterated when he is repelled by Cordelia’s honest and sincere reply.
Kent on thy life, no more…… Out of my sight! (Act 1) Lear Shakespeare shows us that when blind, even reasoning and simple clear logic is not enough to wake one up to one’s senses. Lear’s loyal lord, Kent attempts to reason with him, in order to save Lear from himself (to redeem himself), and restore Cordelia to her rightful position. This is an opportunity for Lear to review his thinking, to see things as they really are. Lear fails to see the truth, thus reinforcing his state of blindness. Kent is banished.
Reasoning is a human characteristic and does not just go away. It comes up again to fight the lack of insight that is now threatening to cement itself within Lear’s mind. Kent returns in disguise to assist Lear and Cordelia. The level of Lear’s blindness is evident when he does not recognise the truth of who Kent is. This failing of Lear’s proves yet again how blind Lear actually is.
For a moment, at the end of Act1 Lear briefly sees the truth within. He then falls back into this state of blindness till the final part. Here as a result of being driven mad, he becomes a man with new vision. Blindness is clearly a dominant theme, as it appears several times in the first Act. King Lear is not the only character to suffer from this flaw. Gloucester is prone to the same suffering. He too does not see things as they are.

Rangiatea STEWART Practice Essay 1 – King Lear Ms LAWRENCE 22.03.2013 Page 2/2

…a loyal and natural boy.. (Act 2) Gloucester Shakespeare provides many examples of blindness throughout the play. Gloucester’s rejection of Edgar is