In King Lear, the problematic of family relations is closely intertwined with social and political issues. These three planes contain the same pure humanity clashes with the theme of callousness, greed and ambition. Lear at the beginning of the tragedy is a king of the medieval type, intoxicated with the illusion of his omnipotence, blind to the needs of his people, disposing the country as his personal estate, which he can give away to anyone. From everyone around, even his daughters, he requires blind obedience instead of sincerity. Two elder daughters use this, hypocritically assuring him of their love. They are opposed by Cordelia, who knows only one law – the law of truth and naturalness. But Lear is deaf to the voice of truth, and for this he suffers severe punishment. His illusions as a king, father, and a human being dissipate. After experiencing poverty and deprivation, he began to understand much of what was previously not available to him; he began to look differently at his power and life.
The themes of blindness and madness are entered in the tragedy with one goal and practically identical. Both blindness and madness are designed to sharpen the senses of characters to the limit, to make them see the truth. Blinded Earl of Gloucester suddenly sees clearly. The scene of Gloucester’s blinding is probably the most violent scene in all of Shakespeare’s works. But the torments of this scene are like the torments of the birth: new Gloucester is born before the reader.
Madness of Lear expresses the discord of his raging feelings. These are the torments of the birth of new Lear. In order to see clearly, Lear needed to survive this internal destructive storm. He himself speaks about the storm in his heart. Through the storm of furious passion suddenly tender shoots are coming out. And then, terrible denunciations are followed by the kind words addressed to the fool. For his whole life Lear never said such kind words.
Shakespeare skillfully builds the intrigue, when the wheel of fortune turns 180 degrees with respect to those who are happy and well-being: those who have power become blind, insane or destitute. This is the only way to get rid of the stupidity and spiritual blindness, which for decades blinded these people from the light of truth. In the same way, with the help of cruel blows of fate, Shakespeare teaches love to fathers and children.
In King Lear, the problematic of family relations is closely intertwined with social and political issues. These three planes contain the same pure humanity clashes with the theme of callousness, greed and ambition.