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"On the outside its full of leaves, but on the inside its bare and empty" - SETH

King Lear - Childishness, Old Age, Sight, Blindness

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 09:22 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 61.4 
  • Words: 384
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Childishness, old age, sight and blindness are symbols in “King Lear”.They are connected with the psychological setting of the play. They also show another aspect of the Shakespearean style; that is, paradoxes and ironies.

Childishness is found in Lear´s decission of dividing his kingdom and his requirement to continuing to be treated as a king. He wants to dispose of all the burdens of his kingdom concerning political decissions, but at the same time, he insists on having all king´s prerrogatives. Another clear example of Lear´s childishness is exposed when he expells Cordelia from his kingdom because he does not get the answer he wants. As regards subplot, childishness is found un Gloucester. He believes all what his illegitimate son tells him without recoursing to his experience in life. In both cases, irony is found because childishness is present in adults and maturity in children.

Old age is connected with the idea of death Shakespeare had. Lear is the first who expresses his concepton of old age when he divides his kingdom: “while we Unburthened crawl toward death” . Lear feels that he is not strong enough to controll his kingdom due to his old age. Kent is another character who expresses a concept of old age. Almost at the end of the play, in the denoument, he is offered to rule Lear´s kingdom but he says “ I have a journey, sir shorly to go”. It can be seen that old age in Shakespearean times is just a step before death.

Sight and blindness can not be analysed separatedly. They form almos the whole theme of the play. Sigh in blindness and blindness in sight is a true paradox in this play. Blindness affects Lear and Gloucester differently. While in the case of Lear blindness is used in a metaphorical sense, Gloucester is taken his eyes out by Cornwall. Although Gloucester´s blindness implies a physical inability, it can be comparet to that of Lear´s because they are not able to...


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