King Lear Figurative Passage

Submitted By CMarieM
Words: 430
Pages: 2

In William Shakespeare’s King Lear, Gloucester’s journey exemplifies the figurative passage many literary characters must take. In doing so, Gloucester’s perception is drastically altered, affecting his ability to see things clearly. From the beginning and throughout the majority of the play, Gloucester is a foolish old man with an inability to see through his son’s lies. In not understanding Edmund's motives, Gloucester is blind to the events occurring around him, even before his eyes are gouged out. He is not intuitive or perceptive enough to understand the events taking place around him. Gloucester still blames events on the stars, and thus, alleviates himself of any responsibility for his actions. Later, Gloucester begins to discover his own humanity as well as compassion for his fellow man. He becomes willing to sacrifice his own life for the king. This heroic behavior sets Gloucester apart from his former self. He feels despair and finds his humanity in the midst of the play. The blinded old man who asks that clothing be brought to cover Poor Tom is a very different man from the Gloucester of Act I, who earlier made jokes at Edmund's expense. Instead of being a thoughtless, arrogant man, Gloucester is filled with compassion for Poor Tom. It is this compassion for other people that indicates that Gloucester regrets his prior behavior, as he seeks to make amends with those he could not understand before his journey. When Cornwall destroys Gloucester's eyes, his vision becomes clear from this point on. Ironically, Gloucester is not capable to see vengeance until after he is blinded. As a result, Gloucester is out of danger and his mental state is