How does King Lear mirror the character of Gloucester?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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King Lear and Gloucester are both manipulated and deceived by their evil child (or children) and blind to the love of their loyal and good child. Both have been powerful for so long, one as monarch and one as an earl, that their ability to discern deception from truth has become dulled.

In Lear's case, he mistakes the extravagant words of love from his two elder daughters for real love. He simply cannot understand that it is his kingdom they love, not him as their father. They will say anything to get his power.

Cordelia, in contrast, is so disgusted by her sisters' transparent use of flattery that she only provides the bare-bones facts of her own loyalty and love. This enrages Lear so much that he banishes her, the only daughter who truly cares about him.

Gloucester also cannot tell the difference between appearance and reality. He lets the deceptions of his illegitimate son, Edmund, who is angry that his birth status keeps him from inheriting, turn him against his honorable son, Edgar.

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