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Word Count: 2,953
The images of sight given taken or abused resonate deeply in King Lear from Kents first imperative See better Lear Ii158 to the painful images of a stumbling eyeless Gloucester Such imagery drawn both dramatically and verbally illustrates well the theme of consciousness Consciousness in this play refers to seeing the world without through the lens of the world within The success of King Lear as a satisfying tragedy relies on this issue of consciousness This theme is most potently manifest in the play through the classic inversion of sight and blindness paradoxically those with healthy and normal eyes see both a self and world distorted while only those who have been robbed of their sight physically like Gloucester or metaphorically like Lear can apprehend their truer nature In the plays initial scenes we behold Lear as a vain old man motivated by a desire for necessary dependents while refusing to yield his own independence Two of his daughters keenly aware of their fathers desires acquiesce to his designs and play up to his increasing insecurity Cordelia the third youngest and favorite daughter refuses to make her love a show and denies her father the cruel pleasure of seeing her bend to his warped will Her love more true than either of her elder sisters is ignored Lear cannot appreciate Cordelias candor for what it is Instead of realizing her pure devotion he casts her from his house his fracturing sense of self precluding his better apprehension Kent Lears chief lieutenant immediately recognizes his chiefs grave error Undeterred by Lears growing anger Kent proceeds to call his master to task saying See better Lear and let me still remain The true blank of thine eye Ii170-171 Kent perceives the pure love underlying Cordelias seemingly rude front and in asking Lear to see better implores his master to look beyond his own pride and inner weakness to the true intention of his most honest daughter Lear
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