Blindness In King Lear

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According to Samuel Butler, "A blind man knows he cannot see, and is glad to be led, though it be by a dog, but he that is blind in his understanding, which is the worst blindness of all, believes he sees as the best, and scorns a guide." There is no one as blind as an individual who will not see. Individuals who pay no attention to what they already know are the most deluded. In King Lear, blindness is a reoccurring theme, and this quote connects to the protagonist, Lear, who is not physically blind, but is blind in a sense that he lacks understanding and careful judgement. It is only when Lear goes mad and experiences an immense breakdown does he finally realize his mistakes. Blindness is the source of the chain of events that lead to his downfall though it ironically offers a clearer…show more content…
Lear's decision to divide his kingdom is dependant only on the level of flattery his daughters show before him. Due to the lack of flaunting Cordelia displays, Lear banishes her as he proclaims, "... for we/ Have no such daughter, nor shall ever see/ That face of her again. Therefore be gone/ Without our grace, our love, our benison" (I.I.265-267). Lear is easily mislead by the false praise his two eldest daughters, Goneril and Regan, give him and is unable to see Cordelia's true loyalty. In the intensity of his wrath, Lear feels that what he is doing is right though in actuality, he fails to see that his ignorance has brought him to powerless position. These actions display Lear's foolishness as he places power into the hands of individuals who express charm and false love through meaningless words. The blind act Lear commits causes the tragic chain of events that follow throughout the play. Essentially, it takes Lear to fall to the utter depths of despair in order to recognize his misjudgements. He plummets during the great storm and exclaims the
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