Sequences of King Lear which display varying perceptions of different characters

Essay by dEEzHigh School, 12th gradeA, November 1996

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In Shakespeare's King Lear, there are several sequences which display the varying perceptions of different characters. The perceptions of the characters often differs because of what they are able to see and also in their nature. Such factors obstruct their vision, not allowing them to see clearly. One sequence which may illustrate this is the banishing of Cordelia after she refuses Lear's test of love. Another sequence is the gouging of Gloucester's eyes by Cornwall. A third sequence which shows the indifference of opinion within the characters is Lear's death at the end of the play.

As the play opens up, Gloucester and Kent are speaking of Lear's intention to divide his kingdom according to a test of love. It is this test of love which causes Lear to banish his most beloved daughter Cordelia. When asked how much she loves her father, Cordelia replies that she loves him according to her bond, no more nor less .

This response angers Lear and causes him to ban her for her refusal to comply. Lear is held to the belief that she does not love him. He believes that the daughter which had loved him the most (and who he loved the most) has broken his heart. He is suspicious and bans her because he thinks that she is the only daughter who doesn't love him. It is Lear's rashness which prevents him from seeing that she is speaking the truth. It is the same rashness which leads him to believe that Goneril and Regan are being truthful. Kent believes that Lear is wrong and openly tells him so. He says in a straightforward manner that he is both mad and an old man . Kent believes that Lear's decision was a 'hideous rashness.' He continues to speak, even as...