King Lear

by: William Shakespeare

Five Key Questions

Summary Five Key Questions

4) Why does Cornwall blind Gloucester?

By sending Lear to Cordelia, who is technically a foreign invader, Gloucester may have committed treason against Regan, Goneril, and their husbands. If Gloucester is guilty of treason, he must be punished. The legal situation is complicated, however, and Gloucester has not had a trial. Cornwall admits he does not have the right to punish Gloucester, but says he is angry, wants to punish Gloucester, and knows he has the power to get away with the act. The blinding of Gloucester is one of the most cruel and violent scenes Shakespeare ever wrote. The act emphasizes that the world of King Lear is a cruel and violent place, as well as an unjust one.