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In William Shakespeare's tragedy, King Lear,the issue of sight on many levels is a recurring theme. Discuss

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King Lear Essay In William Shakespeare's tragedy, King Lear,the issue of sight on many levels is a recurring theme. Throughout the play Shakespeare shows that sight does not just come from the eyes. It is shown through the characters of Lear, Gloucester and how they compare to each other. Lear's character is one that never learns what it means to see without ones eyes. Lear's sight is hazed because of his lack of ability to see inside of people, he can not tell who they really are. When Lear is angered by Cordelia, Kent tries to reason with Lear, who is too angry and upset to have an open mind. Lear responds to Kent's opposition with, "Out of my sight!," to which Kent responds, "See better, Lear, and let me still remain" (I.i.160). Here, Lear is banishing Kent and never wants to see him again, but Lear never really saw Kent for who he was. Kent's vision is not hazed like Lear's, and he knows that all he has to do to remain by Lear's side is to be in a disguise. Kent later approaches Lear, in his disguise and Lear excepts him. ...read more.


Lear however does not see the meaning of the words that Goneril and Regan are putting forth and feels that they love him and Cordelia does not. Kent, who can see what is actually going on, knows that Cordelia is the only one of the three daughters that truly loves Lear. He tries to get Lear to understand this by saying, "Answer my life my judgment,Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least"(I.i.153-154). Lear however can not see past what his eyes are telling him, and becomes very angry and narrowminded. When Lear banishes Cordelia, he says, "we/Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see/That face of hers again" (I.i.264-266). Ironically, later he discovers that Cordelia is the only one of his daughters he wishes to see, asking her to "forget and forgive" (IV.vii.85). By this time he has gained some direction, and he is beginning to see with more then his eyes, but at this point it is too late because his prior choices have condemned him. Unlike Lear, Gloucester came to know how to see with more then his eyes, but it did not come without a cost. ...read more.


While Lear has the physical sight that Gloucester does not, Gloucester can see what Lear will never be able to. When Lear and Gloucester meet on the cliffs of Dover, Lear questions Gloucester's state: 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.GLOUCESTER. I see it feelingly. (IV.vi.147-151)Here, Lear does not understand Gloucester because Lear does not grasp the concept of seeing with no eyes. Even though Lear sees his mistakes he still feels that sight comes from the eyes. Gloucester tells him that sight is from within. Sight is a cocktail of the mind, heart and emotion, stirred not shaken together. This is something that Lear will never understand.In King Lear, sight is something that is seen inboth main characters of the two plots. While Lear showshis lack of sight, Gloucester learns that sight does not come from the eye. Throughout the play, Shakespeare is saying that to see the world the way it is you must use more then your eyes. The world hides things from the naked eye, and therefore that is why it can be said that to look at the world you use your eyes, to see it you use your heart. ...read more.

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