How are the images of blindness and sight in 'King Lear' relevant to characteriztion, plot and theme?Is this a comparative contrast essay or argumentative essay? And can someone explain to me more...

How are the images of blindness and sight in 'King Lear' relevant to characteriztion, plot and theme?

Is this a comparative contrast essay or argumentative essay? And can someone explain to me more in detail about this?

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appletrees's profile pic

appletrees | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

The question is probably more closely related to argumentation than to comparison/contrast. The imagery of blindness and sight in the play serve to illuminate and comment upon the most important relationships among the characters, especially that of King Lear to his daughters. Lear is 'blind' to young daughter Cordelia's loyalty because she refuses to speak plainly when asked what she wants from him as an inheritance. He thinks she is being impertinent and sends her away; this allows older daughters Regan and Goneril to manipulate and take advantage of him. Lear is later physically blinded and finally realizes Cordelia's devotion is lasting.

vanessaconsi's profile pic

vanessaconsi | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

To correct the answer above..
Lear asks his three daughters how much they love him. Their answer will determine how much land they are given by him. This shows Lear being vain and wanting to obtain a large ego with reassurance of their love to make him happy. When his two eldest daughters speak, they are very nice to Lear only to gain the land that they desperately desire. When Cordelia, the youngest daughter speaks, she says she doesnt love her father more or less than she should. Cordelia speaks only the truth, unlike her sisters, which ulitimitely leads to her banishment from the family because Lear was blind to see her loyalty that Cordelia provided to him.
Lear later realizes his mistake in banishing Cordelia and goes mad. This is the result of his awareness of Goneril and Regan, the two daughters that he has faulsely trusted instead of his true loyal daughter Cordelia. Gloucester is the one who goes physically blind due to Cornwall, his own bastard son Edmund, Goneril and Regan bind him to a chair and pluck out his eyes. This shows Gloucester's blindness in trusting his bastard son Edmund instead of his loyal ligitimate son Edgar.

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