I have no way, and therefore want no eyes

From The Tragedie of King Lear, actus quartus, scena prima

From The Tragedie of King Lear, actus quartus, scena prima

Dalrymple writes that in these nine simple words

of great rhythmic beauty, Shakespeare not only describes utter despair but makes us feel it ourselves, or at least helps us know what it might be like to feel it. And, at the same time Shakespeare tells us that to have no way, literally or metaphorically, is the greatest of human misfortunes.

Shakespeare, says Dalrymple,

seems not only to have described but experienced his myriad characters from the inside, as it were; and because of his incomparable literary gifts, he helps us to do so as well.

On the Cliff: Gloucester and Edgar, Boardman Robinson, 1938

On the Cliff: Gloucester and Edgar, Boardman Robinson, 1938

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