Clear Vision in King Lear

January 22, 2017 General Studies

One sees clearly with the heart, anything essential is invisible to the eyes. Antoine de Saint Exupery says that the most important things in life cant be seen with ones natural eyes, but it is something one feels with their emotions. The same idea can be seen throughout the tragedy of King Lear. Eyesight, blindness, and hallucination are a reoccurring theme in the play. This theme is mainly portrayed through the characters, Lear and Gloucester. Lear can physically see but is blind to the truth. Gloucester becomes physically blind but understands the reality. Using ones heart the reality can be seen, but relying on vision, all things are not as they appear. .

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Lears eyesight lacked understanding and insight into the future. He couldnt see the true character inside others. Lear was getting too old to rule over his kingdom and wanted to retire the throne. He held a contest and whichever daughter can lavish him with the most praise and prove hey love him most, will get the best land. He has three daughters, but only one of them is truly loyal to him. Dearer than eyesight, space, and liberty. ( T,1, ln. 55) Goneril makes a speech to Lear about how much she loves him. Her love is insincere, but Lear becomes satisfied with this false love. He thinks that love can be quantified, but true love cant be compared, weighed, or judged. Unlike Goneril and Regan, Cordelia expresses her true love to him. .


Unhappy that Iam, I cannot heave .

My heart into my mouth. I love your majesty.

According to my bond; no more nor less.

(T,1, ln. 90~93).

Lear already thinks that Cordelia has the most love for him, but when he hears this he becomes furious. Cordelia already understands her love for him as a father and as a king. She cant make herself say a false speech to gain his power and wealth. However, Lears vision cant recognize what her words really mean to him. He cant predict into the future, nor can he see the consequences he makes.


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