Tensions and Conflicts have had Adverse Ramifications – the Rising Action

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This scene denotes the point of no recovery wherein tensions and conflicts have had adverse ramifications – the rising action. Through their newfound power, the sisters have driven their father to insanity; this is coupled with the ominous presence of Edmund who has sought to betray his brother and father to become the sole heir of Gloucester’s fortune. The insane parody of a trial in the previous scene ought to be a model of rationality compared to the horrific acts enacted in this scene. The scene partakes in Gloucester’s castle, from which Cornwall hands Goneril a treasonous letter pertaining to the landing of the French army at Dover. Confronted with the letter, Cornwall denotes Gloucester as a traitor that ought to be thoroughly punished; Gloucester is sent for and quickly brought in. Edmund is told to accompany Goneril so that he is not present for Gloucester’s punishment.

Turning the language of vision and blindness that has been metaphorical up until this point brutally literal, Cornwall will transform Gloucester, who failed to see his son’s true character, into a walking symbol of blindness. Cornwall’s servant, however, still viscerally responds to an inward sense of order and balks at this injustice. Ironically, only when he is literally blinded is Gloucester able to see the truth about his sons. This ought to denote the adverse effects of Gloucester’s plot from which no return ought to be made; the point in which Glocester goes through a moment of epiphany and realizes the distraught truth of his sons. Only when one is at their lowest point could one truly see the truth.

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Scene Study

Act 3, scene 7 embarks with Cornwall’s monologue pertaining to Gloucester’s acts of traitorism. This serves as a way to establish Cornwall’s distaste of Gloucester and a form of foreshadowing of the forthcoming events. Cornwall’s villainy in this scene is not unexpected. His anger earlier in Act III builds to the brink of losing control; in this scene, the audience sees Regan’s husband refusing any attempts at civility. He has become the beast that is lurking just beneath the veneer of civilization. Repeatedly, Cornwall described Gloucester as a “traitor” and “thief” who will sustain his “wrath.” Although Cornwall recognizes that he lacks the authority to put Gloucester to death “without the form of justice,” his “power” ought to be enough to express his anger. The word “wrath” is particularly important, as it carries a connotative meaning relating to rage or, in this context, punishment which ought to be justified as he has been robbed of his dignity. To elucidate on this intricate relationship, Cornwall believes that the “fox” has conspired against him through a letter – hence his condonation of him. When Gloucester is brought to him, Cornwall makes no attempt to control himself. Although Gloucester reminds Cornwall that they are “guests” in his home, neither Cornwall nor Regan have any interest in maintaining the rules of hospitality. They quickly bark orders to the servants to “bind” his “corky arms.” Regan’s plucking of Gloucester’s beard reinforces their outward intent on humiliation and dehumanization; it ought to be noted that Gloucester is an earl and elderly statement who has been revered for his wisdom – the act of plucking on one’s beard ought to one of the most disrespectful acts.

Earlier in the play, the ambiguity of the secondhand—and conflicting—reports about the actions of Lear’s knights make it possible for the audience to feel a moderate degree of sympathy for Regan and Goneril. Despite this, the blinding of Gloucester ends any sympathy the audience has for the sister. Although Glocester disputers any ill-meaning towards them with the “letter,” Cornwall calls him “cunning” and a liar. They question where Gloucester has sent the king. Admitting that he helped Lear escape, Gloucester swears that he will “see” Lear’s wrongs avenged. He proclaims that the “poor old” Lear has “endured” their wrongdoings for too long and that he won’t be a bystander to lear’s “abuse.” The specific usage of words compel the notion of Cornwall and the sisters abusing an innocent old man – creating a sympathetic atmosphere. Why would someone abuse an old man other than for menacing purpose? In response, Cornwall proclaims that “See ’t shalt thou never,” and proceeds to dig out one of Gloucester’s eyes. As Gloucester screams, Regan demands that Cornwall pull out the “other eye too.” This marks the point of no return, wherein Cornwall’s and the Sister’s actions cannot be forgiven for they are too heinous to be pardoned.

In a desperate attempt of salvation, Gloucester calls out for Edmund to “quit this horrid act.” Gloucester, in essence, is seeking salvation – comparable to how he seeks divine justice from the gods. His call to the gods to let Edgar prosper reflects his residual belief that the heavens are capable of guarding order and justice. Diving deeper, one could see why Gloucester wasn’t incentivized to do right or understand his surroundings as he expected others to do justice – why should he himself take action when others could. This is the point in which Regan reveals that it was Edmund who betrayed him. Thus becoming clear to Gloucester that “Edgar was abused”; this serves an important turning point of the Gloucester plot. As soon as he loses his eyesight, he begins to “see” the extent to which he has been deceived and now begins to perceive the true nature of his two sons. Edmunds cruel attitude is further emphasized through his compliance in leaving before this horror was enacted; as Edmund was within earshot of Regan and Cornwall demanding for the “blood” of his father, Edmund must have understood how harsh of a punish Gloucester would endure. And yet, Edmund willingly and readily leaves for an errand – in a sense he became a bystander who not only left his father to fend for himself but also enabled the abuse unto him.

Connection to Theme

This scene ought to be representative of a major turning point of the play wherein tensions have brewed for so long that they have had adverse ramification. Although the ambiguity of the sisters’ and Cornwall’s actions are questionable, this act alone denotes them as the clear villains of the play. This scene emphasizes Cornwall’s deteriorating morality and lack of reasoning when he quite literally blinds Gloucester as punishment – ending any sympathy that the audience might have had for them. Thus this scene is considered as the rising action as the series of relevant incidents have brought upon Characters flaws and background circumstances to create a turning point wherein no return could be made. Not only does Gloucester see to the extent of Lear abuse but also the truth of his sons – Gloucester has a moment of epiphany. This is further reinforced through the tearing of Gloucester’s eyes; the horror and gruesome scene could mark a turning point in the play thematically. Although the previous cruelties such as betrayal and madness could be forgiven, blinding someone is irreversible. It is thus evident that the chaos and cruelty enacted in this scene embarks a point of no return leading towards the climax.

In this play, blindness and sight do not pertain to a physical impairment but rather a mental flaw that causes rash decision and misjudgment. To further elucidate on this concept, blindness in characters exacerbate their ability to understand, causing misjudgment to lead chaos in the play. The reoccurring theme of blindness and insight is portrayed through Gloucester, who demonstrate that physical sight does not assure clear insight of a situation. The tragic mistakes that Gloucester does make in misjudging his sons constitute to a form of figurative blindness – a lack of insight into the true characters. Cornwall and Regan make this metaphor of vision brutally literal when they blind Gloucester; for the remainder of the play, Gloucester serves as a kind of walking reminder of the tragic errors and blindness. Gloucester’s greater insight into his surroundings is ironically reflected when he is blinded: literal blindness ironically produces insight. In more simpler terms, only when Gloucester is blind can he see things for what they are.”

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Tensions and Conflicts Have Had Adverse Ramifications - The Rising Action. (2021, May 10). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/tensions-and-conflicts-have-had-adverse-ramifications-the-rising-action/