Moral Blindness and Redemption Throughout the Play

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William Shakespeare expresses this moral blindness and redemption through Lear and Gloucester throughout the play as the two do not realize what has happened until it is too late. Lear is oblivious to those showing true love and tries to get redemption for his actions. The first sense of this moral blindness takes place in Act 1 Scene 1 when Lear calls in everyone to the room to get his daughters to express how much they love him, until Cordelia does not say her loving instead, she says “Why have my sisters husbands if they say / they love you all?”. Cordelia is explaining to Lear that she loves Lear with her dearest heart but loves her husband also, but this also means how much love do Regan and Goneril love their husbands since the two proceed to boost Lear’s pride. This also shows the audience that Lear’s eyes are only open to seeing things that are artificial. Shakespeare demonstrated this when Lear accepts Goneril and Regan’s speech of how much they love him; dividing the kingdom between Goneril and Regan. This also leads to Lear banishing Cordelia and Kent while Kent is the only one that can see Cordelia’s true love for Lear and protects her from her from his unbelievable actions, it is too late, and Cordelia is then banished Lear said “Propinquity, and property of blood, / and as a stranger to my heart and me...”. Lear banishes Cordelia after seeing that she did not praise Lear like Goneril, and Regan did, as a result in Lear making Cordelia a stranger in his eyes.

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Lear is not just blind to his true loving daughter Cordelia but also to his noble knight Kent. These two are the only true lovers of Lear because no matter what Lear has done to them, they have unconditional love for Lear. Lear banishes Kent for sticking up and interrupting Lear’s altercation with Cordelia saying “Upon our kingdom. If on the tenth day following / Thy banished trunk be found in our dominions...” . Upon banishing Kent in the kingdom this is the start of Lear’s down fall introducing the breaking of the Elizabethan order as Lear is supposed to give his kingdom just before he passes but does the opposite instead because he has too much pride. Kent has unconditional love Kent goes undercover as Caius to try and direct Lear to the right path but fails as Lear dies in the end after Kent reveals his disguise, this also shows how blind Lear is as he is unable to identify his true servants identity even behind a disguise. In addition, after Kent was banned the fool said to Kent “We'll set thee to school to an ant, to teach thee there's no laboring i' the winter. All that follow their noses are led by their eyes but blind men; and there's not a nose among twenty but can smell him that's stinking...” . The fool is having a conversation with Kent after his banishment and is telling Kent that even blind men know how bad Lear is, the irony is that blind people cannot see. The fool then wonders why Kent is so loyal to Lear through the banishment especially when Lear has nothing to offer him anymore.

Lear was blind enough to give the two evil sisters Goneril and Regan the kingdom after banishing the youngest sister Cordelia. Goneril and Regan both knew that Lear has too much pride and took advantage and Lear himself did not know until later in the play. Lear said “I remember thine eyes well enough. Dost thou squiny / at me? No, do thy worst, blind Cupid! I'll not / love read thou this challenge...” . Lear refers himself as Cupid because he is blind for mistaking and falling for his daughter's deceiving plan. Lear trusted Goneril and Regan with the kingdom and ended up betraying him in the long run. After boosting Lear’s confidence Goneril and Regan already knew their plan to take down Lear, as Lear did not know what was going on as he was morally blind to this situation, the fool recognizes this and said “Winter’s not gone yet, if the wild-geese fly that way. / Fathers that wear rags / do make their children blind; / but fathers that bear bags...”. As Lear has given up the kingdom to his two daughters Goneril and Regan, the two do not care about him anymore as the plan is to bring him down. All the lies they told Lear how the two loved him. With this much power in their hands they took away Lear’s 100 knights and reduced it to half, this is another part of betrayal that is happening and is unaware of it. Later in the play Lear realizes that he was in the wrong and tries to come to a clearer vision. Lear said to Cordelia when he sees her “Be your tears wet? Yes, faith. I pray, weep not. / If you have poison for me, I will drink it. / I know you do not love me, for your sisters / Have, as I do remember, done me wrong. / You have some cause; they have not.' Lear finally realizes that his daughter that he banished is the one with true love towards Lear, Lear acknowledges what he has done to Cordelia and how he has hurt her and tries to make it up to her by allowing her to cause harm towards him but being the daughter who unconditionally loves her father she says no cause.

With betrayal as the main theme there is moral blindness and a seek for redemption and clearer vision throughout majority of the play. When blindly trusting people is a possibility to a result into a in suffering which shows through the main plot of the play. This allows people to seek the truth before making decisions that could hurt the person in the long run, just how Lear’s insight was not able to seek the two sisters who were trying to take him down. Meanwhile banishing his real supporters Kent and Cordelia, no matter what Lear did to them they always had unconditional love, it was too late for Lear to come to clearer vision to be able to realize and try to seek redemption for his terrible actions but causes his own death with a suffer of a broken heart. 

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