Theme of Blindness in King Lear, Death Of a Salesman, Catcher in the rye
The theme of ‘blindness’ could be found in many fictions with characters introduced as ‘blind’ or becoming ‘blind’ to certain aspects in course of the story. This paper will compare three plays, King Lear, Death Of a Salesman, Catcher in the Rye and its characters, King Lear, Willy Loman and Holden Caulfield by discussing how each of them became ‘blind’ to certain issues, relationships etc in their lives.
Comparison of the three plays or books
The play, King Lear uses the theme of blindness to represent the sufferings of the central characters, caused by their ‘blindness’ to the original intentions of their children. While Death of a Salesman has a central character, who becomes blind and dies in the end, after a lot of struggles caused by the blind faith in the American Dream, which is actually a false myth.
In King Lear, it is shown that individuals should have their mind awakened and not ‘blinded’ in the crucial stages of their lives. But, the character of King Lear was ‘blind’ in the crucial partition stage or scene. Likewise, in the play, Catcher in the Rye, Holden was ‘blind’ to the complexities of the adult world. This only led him to behave in an erratic manner without maturity.
Death Of a Salesman mainly deals with the search for materialism that obscures or ‘blinds’ the path of truth and morality, which is the original American Dream as described by the country’s founders. Likewise, Catcher in the Rye deals with characters, who go in search of cheap pleasures fully ‘blinded’ by the need to maintain innocence and maturity.
Comparison of the characters in the three plays
In the play, King Lear, the central character of the king becomes mad due to his ‘blind’ faith in his two untrustworthy daughters, Goneril and Regan. King Lear discarded his loyal daughter, Cordelia making his heinous daughters heir, who do not support him at all. In Death Of a Salesman, the central character, Willy Loman, suffers a similar fate because he finds little support or comfort from his two sons, Biff Loman and Happy Loman
When King Lear had to choose between his daughters, he becomes ‘blinded’ by false affections and makes a wrong decision. The decision, which forces him to live, the final years of his life in misery. In the play, Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield also goes through a same predicament of whether to choose childhood or adulthood, and commits various impulsive or rash actions.
The character of Willy Loman apart from becoming blind physically becomes ‘blinded’ mentally, due to his wish to achieve a non-existent American Dream, which is actually fueled by the society. “His [Willys] destruction posits a wrong or evil in society” (Miller 5). Likewise, the character of Holden Caulfield apart from acting as a blind boy in one occasion, becomes ‘blind’ to the discipline and the maturity, one should show in the adulthood.
Miller, Arthur. Death Of a Salesman. Penguin Group. 1949.