The Significance of Life: Gloucester and Macbeth
Looks at the similarities and differences between “King Lear’s` Gloucester and MacBeth.
`The Earl of Gloucester has only superficial similarities to Macbeth. Gloucester eventually finds redemption through the power of the love of his older son, Edgar, and Macbeth does not redeem himself. As we are introduced to both characters, however, they do share some similarities. Gloucester, in Act I, Scene ii of King Lear indicates that his superstitious beliefs are deeply ingrained. He blames `these late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us` and that the effects of the eclipses will be disastrous: `love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide. In cities mutinies, in countries, discord; in palaces treason` and so forth. His evil son, Edmund, realizes that he can take advantage of his father’s folly and superstitions and he cynically remarks that “we make guilty of our own disasters the sunk, the moon and stars”. Edmund, knowing that his father is “credulous” and his “brother noble” (I, ii, 192-93), realizes that he can plan to grab the fortunes of his father which would otherwise descend to the older of Gloucester’s two sons.”