Please describe some similarities and differences between King Lear and Gloucester in King Lear by Shakespeare.   

Expert Answers
shakespeareguru eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Here are some basic similarities and differences to jump start you into a more detailed character analysis of each.

Similarities:

  • Both have children whose love and loyalty are in question.
  • Both fail to see, at the play's outset, which child is true and loyal and which is disloyal and false.
  • Both are old men who, rather than enjoy the status and ease of their age and rank, are turned out into the wild and harsh elements to make their way in the world.
  • Both Lear and Gloucester are reduced to despair about life and their situations.

Differences:

  • Though they both are reduced to despair, Lear's desire to escape from reality manifests as madness, Gloucester's as thoughts of suicide.
  • Gloucester's true/loyal son, Edgar, is able to assist his father through much of the events of the play, Lear's true/loyal daughter, Cordelia, arrives at the end and is not able to save Lear.
  • Gloucester is literally blinded in the play, while Lear's blindness is figurative.

I hope that these general comparisons help you hone in on the details that you need!