What are King Lear's biggest tragedies?

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sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To corroborate the answer concerning Lear's inability to perceive truth--blinded by appearance so as to not understand reality--this can be traced through the imagery of the play.  Various passage relate to seeing, blindness, and insight, and "nothing" reverberates throughout the play (as does "fools" and "folly").  His conversations with his daughters in Act 1 are full of references to eyes: Goneril tells her father, for example, he is "dearer than eyesight," and Lear tells Kent "avoid my sight" (1.1.55, 125). Cordelia and Lear repeat the word "nothing" 5 times in 4 lines (1.1.85-90). And of course Gloucester loses his sight in one of the most violent moments of the play. On the one hand, Lear does not or refuses to "see," and then eventually when he does, he finds "nothing"--a cruelty in the universe, which culminates with the death of his daughter. Lear is tragic because he doesn't see, but he lives in a universe where everything doesn't make sense, a universe which seems to have "nothing"--a lack of a rational center.