King Lear

The Blindness of a King and the Wisdom of a Fool

Blindness is not just an inability to see with your eyes. It is a quality derived from lack of wisdom and intuition. True vision is not the product of properly functioning optic nerves - it is the ability to keenly observe one's situation and to deduce, interpret, and decipher. Sight is wisdom; blindness is foolishness. A clinically blind man walking down the street with a cane may, in this definition of "sight," be able to "see" more than a person with 20/20 vision. In this definition of "sight," a Fool may be sagacious and a King may be foolish. This is exactly the case in William Shakespeare's famed play, King Lear. Two characters, King Lear and the Fool, represent the juxtaposition of the two contrasting qualities of blindness and the ability to perceive, in their interactions with one another, with others, and their general behavior.

Lear and the Fool's interactions with each other help to establish the theme of blindness versus sight. Throughout the novel, the Fool observes Lear's behavior and speaks to Lear of the truths of his own identity. The Fool sees Lear's faults plainly when he chants witticisms like, "thou mad'st thy daughters thy mothers"...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1083 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 8442 literature essays, 2298 sample college application essays, 367 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in