King Lear by William Shakespeare

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In King Lear, Shakespeare proves the hypothesis of an indifferent universe in which human life is meaningless and brutal with the motif of eyesight and blindness. In the beginning of the novel, King Lear asks his daughters Goneril, Regan and Cordelia to express their love for him using their words. While Goneril and Regan do not love Lear they are able to trick him into thinking otherwise.

They both use greatly exaggerated words of flattery to please him. Cordelia on the other hand can not find the words to express how much she truly loves her father, unfortunately she tells him this bluntly. These blunt words greatly upset Lear. Simply because Cordelia can not flatter her father as well as her sisters, Lear banishes her. Lear is however greatly pleased with his other daughters Goneril and Regan because while they do not love him, their kind words blind him from seeing this truth. As the novel progresses Lear soon learns this truth when he finds himself being betrayed by Goneril and Regan.

Their betrayal leads to Lear literally losing both of his eyes and finding himself alone with the daughters he once thought loved him. By the end of novel, Lear has realized his great mistake, not only do Goneril and Regan not love him but they despise him, while Cordelia the daughter he thought despised him is the only ally he has left. Lear comes to truly love Cordelia. However, due to Goneril and Regan’s betrayal Cordelia is killed. Lear now has nothing and no one. In the final scenes the readers find Lear physically blind holding his dead Cordelia in his arms longing only to be with her once more. Lear has made a complete transformation. In the beginning of the novel while he could physically see Lear found himself blinded with artificial love that he wrongfully perceived through flattering words. By the end of the novel, even though he is in fact physically blind Lear can now see real love through his relationship with Cordelia.

Unfortunately it is too late, his blindness cost Cordel her life. It is through this motif of blindness that we see life is brutal. This is the message that Shakespeare is portraying, that life is meaningless. We all make mistakes that lead to brutal consequences and by the time we realize we have made these mistakes it is too late and there is nothing we can do about it. I believe this novel shows human life an inevitable circle of mistakes with brutal uncorrectable consequences and proves that life is indeed meaningless. Overall, in King Lear, Shakespeare proves the hypothesis of an indifferent universe in which human life is meaningless and brutal using the motif of eyesight and blindness.


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King Lear by William Shakespeare. (2020, Sep 14). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/king-lear-by-william-shakespeare/

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