The Blindness of King Lear

             Although it is never too late to learn, those lessons learned in old age are the most difficult and the most costly. In his play KING LEAR, Shakespeare illustrates that wisdom does not necessarily come with age. The mistakes that Lear and Gloucester make leave them vulnerable to disappointment and suffering at a time in their lives when both should be enjoying peace and contentment. Although both Lear and Gloucester achieve wisdom before they die, they pay a dear price for having lived life blindly.

             Lear and Gloucester both illustrate that wisdom does not always come with age. Lear asks his three daughters to express their love for him in public. Both Goneril and Regan have no problem competing for his love, but.

             when it is Cordelia's turn she refuses to compete because she feels, she can't express the way she feels through words. This refusal enrages Lear, hurts his pride, and causes him to make the foolish mistake of disowning Cordelia:.

             .for we.

             Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see.

             That face of her again. Therefore be gone.

             Without our grace, our love, our benison.

             ( I, i, ll 261-264 ).


             Because of Lear's high position in society, he is supposed to be able to distinguish the good from the bad; unfortunately, his lack of sight prevented him to do so. Lear's first act of blindness is his foolish need of displayed affection by his daughters. First, he was easily deceived by his two eldest daughter's lies, then he was unable to see the reality of Cordelia's true love for him, and as a result, banished her from his kingdom. Lear's most loyal follower Kent, notices Lear's mistake, and attempts to make Lear see how foolish of an action he has just executed. Kent's effort to steer Lear in the right direction backfires. Lear is offended by Kent's attempt to make him go against his word and reverse the disownment on Cordelia. Lear, feeling his pride in jeopardy, goes into a fit of rage and banishes Kent for questioning his judgment:.

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