Inaddition, the Earl of Gloucester is another character which is affected byblindness. Gloucester’s inability to see causes him to be incapable of seeingthe true villain out of his two sons, Edgar and Edmund. Edgar, Gloucester’slegitimate son and next in line for the crown, has always been loyal andfaithful to him but Edmund, Gloucester’s illegitimate son, has always felt likea second class citizen. Edmund sets up a plan in an attempt to pit his fatheragainst his own brother. Edmund is successful and Gloucester is furious fromthe news he received from Edmund. Due to the series of events which unfold,Edgar is forced to flee from home because Gloucester wants to kill him beforeEdgar kills him. Gloucester’s blindness prohibits him from correctly addressingthe situation and confronts Edgar instead. All Edgar’s life he was loving andloyal towards his father yet Gloucester still took Edmunds words and believedthat Edgar wanted to kill him.
Edmund’s plans took Gloucester’s blindness asleverage as well as an effort to become the next heir to his title instead ofEdgar who was rightfully supposed to take over. As the plot of the storyreaches a climax, a turn of events leads to Gloucester being named a traitor bywicked characters named Cornwall and Regan. Regan and Cornwall decide to punishGloucester; they decide to pluck Gloucester’s eyes from his head, which resultsin him losing his eyesight. He is then kicked out of the kingdom and left tofend from himself. It is only then when he is in a state of complete and utter vulnerabilitythat he sees which son has always loved him. In a state of realizationGloucester states: Ihave no way and therefore want no eyes.
Istumbled when I saw. Full oft ’tis seen,Ourmeans secure us, and our mere defectsProveour commodities. O dear son Edgar,Thefood of thy abusèd father’s wrath,MightI but live to see thee in my touch,I’dsay I had eyes again! (Shakespeare IV.I.19-25) Inthe quotation, Gloucester comes to the realization that with eyes he isoblivious to the truth.
He speaks of actually also benefiting from the loss ofhis eyes as he is now capable of making clear decisions. At this pointGloucester gains insight into the true identity of his children as well aswhich of them actually loves him. Realizes all the wrong he has done in hispast and tries to mend the relationship between himself and his genuine son,Edgar.
Gloucester’s misunderstanding of the truth due to his lack ofconsideration causes him to misinterpret the true nature of both his sons. Asthe article states, “There comes a time when the King, too, is childishlyunable to understand anything beyond the most external details of another’ssituation” (KREIDER). Gloucester initially was not able to correctly assessboth sides of the situation, which is a demonstration of his inability tocomprehend the truth behind the facades.
Gloucester’s punishmentwhich leads to his blindness makes true to his emotional blindness in regardstowards Edmund and Edgar, his sons.