Suffering takes on many appearances, depending on how it is received. In King Lear,
suffering was very painful to two people, and the giver wasn't necessarily an enemy, pain can be
from the ones you love. A storm isn't something you wouldn't think of when pain comes to
mind, but it is an element and part of your environment, so are the people one deals with. Pain
can come from many areas, both far and near.
The enemies in our lives are their to balance the goodness that we feel. The world has
balance and they provide it. The pain that they furnish us comes in many forms, mental and
physical. In Gloucester's case, physical was the main one. Getting your eyes gouged out must
be an excruciating way to experience pain. The blinding of a person is not only painful, but
demeaning and tormenting as well. Imagine being blinded and having to experience the world
all over again. The frustration of depending on other people and learning how to navigate your
surroundings, with all the grace of a child. This kind of suffering could lead to suicide, and it
would have, except Gloucester was blind and couldn't see that there was no cliff to throw
himself off of. His enemies didn't want to kill him, but they already did, internally.
The internal death is the final stage of mental suffering, but there are many stages before
the one must go through to get to that last stage. Many of these stages are shown in King Lear,
as he breaks down from a powerful man to a crazy derelict, all because of someone close to him,
that he trusted, stabbed him in the back. The family is part of your environment and so is the
weather. A storm can be a gusting hurricane or a conflict with your sister. Both conflicts cause
damage, and the damage may or may not be repairable. In the case of King Lear, his mental
state diminished rather badly. He was seeing small rodents on his arm and even a elaborate
courtroom scene, all in his head. The pain of falling down from grace and having your own
children disown you and refuse you love you was too much for old King Lear. The king was not
in good health, either. He was old and not the young man that he used to be. The general poor
health and stress from the family were physical things he had to deal with. A weather-beaten,
hallucinating king isn't a very good king.
The stress and anguish of both enemies and elements on a person are enough to break
them in every way possible. The process of taking away, or stripping, the needs of a person is
clearly shown in Shakespeare's King Lear.
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