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King Lear - Sight and Blindness
Transcript of King Lear - Sight and Blindness
How is physical blindness important?
What advice is given about seeing clearly? King Lear Regan and Goneril's fake love blinds Lear from seeing Cordelia's true love for him. Lear is blind to the fact that Goneril and Regan have a plot against him. Lear is blind to Kent's loyalty. "No, no, no, no. Come, let's away to prison: / We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage…"
(5, 3, 9-10) He begins to realize Goneril is deceptive.
"Were't my fitness / To let these hands obey my blood, / They are apt enough to dislocate and tear / Thy flesh and bones: howe'er thou art a fiend, / A woman's shape doth shield thee. (4, 2, 71- 75).
Physically Goneril looks like a woman... "No, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse" (2, 4, 193) "Thou hast her, France: let her be thine; for we / Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see / That face of hers again. Therefore be gone / Without our grace, our love, our benison" (1, 1, 285-288). Gloucester He realizes he wronged Edgar.
“O my follies!: Then Edgar was abused. /
Kind gods, forgive me that, and prosper him!” (3, 7, 100-101).
It is ironic because once Gloucester loses his eyes (eye sight), he sees the truth. The mad Lear and blind Gloucester meet with each other.
"O, ho, are you there with me? No eyes in your / head, nor no money in your purse? Your eyes are in / a heavy case, your purse in a light; yet you see how / this world goes" (4, 6, 161-164). “If, on the tenth day following / Thy banished trunk be found in our dominions, / The moment is thy death” (1, 1, 200-202). “I have full cause of weeping, but this heart / Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws / Or ere I’ll weep. – O Fool, I shall go mad! (2, 4, 326-328). After reducing his train of knights, the realization of both of his daughters' betrayal causes Lear to go mad. "Be your tears wet? yes, 'faith. I pray, weep not:/ If you have poison for me, I will drink it.
/ I know you do not love me; for your sisters / Have, as I do remember, done me wrong:
/ You have some cause, they have not" (4, 7, 81-85). After being betrayed, Lear can now see that Cordelia was the one who loved him. "O, I have ta'en/ Too little care of this!. Take physic, pomp; / Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel, / That thou mayst shake the superflux to them, / And show the heavens more just" (3, 4, 36-40). King Lear is able to see that while he was in power he didn't do enough for the poor. Lear has learned the true nature of the world and attains vision to the truth. In order to be happy he only needs Cordelia. "What, art mad? A man may see how this world goes / With no eyes. Look with thine ears: see how yond / Justice rails upon yond simple thief. Hark, in / Thine ear: change places; and, handy-dandy, which / Is the justice, which is the thief?" (4, 6, 166-170). Lear is now able to fathom that justice isn't always fair. Gloucester is deceived by Edmund.
"Let him fly far: / Not in this land shall he remain uncaught; / And found--dispatch" (2, 1, 61-63). Gloucster literally loses his sight.
"Lest it see more, prevent it. Out, vile jelly!, / Where is thy lustre now?" (3, 7, 91-92). He realizes that world is a different place than what it appeared to be when he was in power.
"I have no way, and therefore want no eyes; / I stumbled when I saw: full oft 'tis seen, / Our means secure us, and our mere defects / Prove our commodities" (4, 1, 19-22). Albany is blinded to Goneril's actions.
"I cannot be so partial, Goneril, / To the great love I bear you,--" (1, 4, 312-313). Lear's madness causes him to doubt Goneril's actions.
"A father, and a gracious aged man, / Whose reverence even the head-lugg'd bear would lick, / Most barbarous, most degenerate! have you madded" (4, 2, 46-48). After receiving the letter detailing the plot on his life, he finally realizes the true extent of Goneril's cruelty and treachery.
"Edmund, I arrest thee / on capital treason; and in thine attaint, / this gilded serpent" (5, 3, 98-100). Albany Discussion: Would you rather live life comfortably and blind, or see the truth and live in discomfort?
This madness causes Albany's Kingdom to become vulnerable to attack