"The Stone Angel" Vs "King Lear": Blindness,Insight

1458 words - 6 pages

Blindness; a flaw with insight`It was once said, "What you lose in blindness is the space around you, the place where you are, and without that you might not exist. You could be nowhere at all."(Kingslover) This is a quote that can relate the characters in The Stone Angel and King Lear. In the tragedy King Lear, written by William Shakespeare and in the novel The Stone Angel, written by Margaret Laurence, the term blindness has an entirely different meaning. It is not a physical flaw, but the inability of the characters to use their thoughts and emotions to see a person for whom they truly are. King Lear, Gloucester, and Hagar are prime examples of characters that suffered most by having this flaw. Nevertheless, from this blindness leads a feeling of loneliness and hopelessness, isolation. Once this isolation has overcome them, the characters finally gain the insight that has long flawed them and indulge in self-discovery. Although these characters share these traits, it is clear that a critical difference between the two books exists in the character's ability to redeem themselves after the epiphany. Blindness gives moral insight.The most blind of all is without a doubt King Lear, because of his high position in society. Lear is supposed to be able to distinguish the good from the bad; unfortunately, his lack of "mind" sight prevented him from doing so. Lear's best exemplification of his blindness occurs at the beginning of the play. First, he was easily deceived by the lies of his two greedy daughters who readily told him what he wanted to hear. Then, he was unable to see the reality of Cornelia's love for him. Lear's last words to the only daughter that truly loved him were; ".... for we/ have no such daughter, nor shall we ever see/ that face of hers again. Therefore be gone/ without our grace, our love, our benison." (Shakespeare I.i 262-265). Gloucester too, has lack of insight. He cannot see the goodness of his son Edgar, and the wickedness of Edmund. A forged letter is the only evidence needed to convince Gloucester that Edgar is plotting to kill him. Immediately after reading the letter Gloucester screams in a rage;O villain, villain! His very opinion in the/ letter! Abhorred villain! Unnatural, delested, brutish/ villain! Worse than brutish! Go, sirrah, seek him; I'll/ apprehend him. Abominable villain! Where is he?(I.ii 75-78)Hagar is blinded by her pride, and from this she has a great stubbornness to show emotion. Just as she had done at the death of both her brothers and her father, Hagar remains stone-faced at the death of Bram. Perhaps she is too proud, or perhaps she has not loved him, but when Brampton Shipley passed away "it was John who cried, not I" (Laurence 184). In an incident where she takes a fall, Hagar actually shows emotion and starts to cry in front of Doris, in response to these tears she states, "They are no tears of mine, in front of her. I dismiss them, blaspheme against them - let them be gone." (31). Even when...

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