Who are three people who helped King Lear see the truth, and who are three people who helped Gloucester see the truth?

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Noelle Matteson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

King Lear’s daughter Cordelia spoke the truth to him from the beginning. She refuses to flatter him the way her sisters do, so Lear disinherits her: “thy truth, then, be thy dower.” She can see through her sisters. However, Cordelia loves and cares for her father, coming to his rescue when his other daughters take his power.

Lear’s loyal follower, the Earl of Kent, also both takes care of Lear and remains honest with him, even in the face of his rejection. He tells Lear that Cordelia loves him. For this, Lear banishes Kent, but he returns disguised and continues to serve the king.

Another character who helps Lear face reality is his Fool. He makes jokes and can be the harshest of the king’s critics. Here, the fool mocks Lear for giving away his kingdom:

LEAR: Dost thou call me fool, boy?

FOOL: All thy other titles thou hast given away; that thou wast born with.

It is more difficult to pinpoint three people who help Gloucester come to terms with the truth. His son Edgar is the most obvious person. He leads his blind father when his eyes have been gouged out and cures him of his desire to commit suicide. When Edgar finally reveals himself to him, the full truth is revealed, and the old man dies of overwhelming emotion.

Gloucester says, “I stumbled when I saw,” so, in a way, those who gouge out his eyes help him determine reality. Regan, Goneril, and Cornwall attack Gloucester in his own home. He cries for Edmund, whom he thinks is loyal. Regan reveals that Edmund “made the overture of thy treasons to us,” prompting them to mutilate him. This is when Gloucester realizes that Edgar is innocent. In a sense, Edgar, Goneril, and Edmund (through his betrayal) help reveal the truth to Gloucester.