King Lear, Shakespeare, Gloucester, Blindness, Disability Studies
In the recent rise of disability studies, scholars like Georgina Kleege have drawn attention to the lack of role models for the blind in classic literature. Instead, literature tends to perpetuate harmful stereotypes of blindness, including blindness accompanied by compensatory powers and blindness as punishment for sin. Shakespeare's King Lear would seem to fall into these stereotypical traps in its treatment of Gloucester during the Dover Cliff scene, where his son Edgar supposedly fools him into thinking he's jumped off a towering cliff. Based on textual evidence, though, we can read Gloucester as collaborating with Edgar in constructing this scene for the audience. Therefore, Gloucester exhibits agency and hope in crafting his renewal, and he can serve as a start for blind role models in classic literature.
Intensive reading, discussion, and (in some sections) viewing of plays from the comedy, tragedy, romance, and history genres.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Silvester, Nyssa, "I'd Say I Had Eyes Again: Redeeming Shakespeare's Gloucester for the Blind" (2013). Student Works. 88.
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