King Lear Theme Essay: Sight and Blindness

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“I stumbled when I saw”.Use this quote as the basis for a discussion on sight and blindness in King Lear.
The Shakespearean play King Lear revolved around a central theme of sight and blindness, perception and truth. William Shakespeare portrayed the idea that what is seen isn't necessarily real, while closing one's eyes to superficial deception may lead to understanding what's beneath the surface. "I stumbled when I saw", one of the most insightful observations in King Lear, demonstrates and ratifies this central idea.
The opening scene of the play also begins the theme of sight and blindness where Lear asks his three daughters of their love for him. Gonerill and Regan both proclaim false love, vowing their love was'dearer than eyesight'. Lear takes these sweet lies at their face value, trusting what he sees, and Cordelia, who utters,'nothing, my lord' is banished from Lear's castle because he cannot understand the value of her words. Kent defends Cordelia and is ordered "out of my sight!", another reference to eyesight. In a single scene, Lear's metaphorical blindness is established, and Kent's plea of "see better, Lear, and let me still remain the true blank of thine eye." is rejected, foreshadowing more deception of Lear to follow.
King Lear sets out to reside with his daughters, only to find that their promises of love are taken back, and what he saw as loyalty was only a plot to gain authority. With both his elder daughter's claim that he was senile and gave away his kingdom'in good time', Lear was blinded with madness and could no longer perceive what was around him. Lear's Fool was the only character who could assess the situation correctly, describing Lear's handing over of the throne as "so out went the candle and we were left darkling."