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Shakespeare: King Lear

15. Act 3, Scene 7: Gloucester is Blinded

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In this module, we read through Act 3, Scene 7, the scene in which Gloucester has his eyes gouged out. In particular, we focus on: (i) the role of torture in Shakespearean drama; (ii) the importance of Dover, both politically and personally for Gloucester; (iii) the impact of the blinding on the audience’s sympathy for those responsible – and especially Cornwall.


In this twenty-five part course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Shakespeare’s King Lear. We begin with a broad introduction to the historical, political and intellectual context of early 17th-century England. After that, we go through the play scene by scene, providing close reading and detailed analysis, with commentary on character, plot, themes and motifs, language, symbolism – and more.

We use the Arden (Third Series) edition of the play. Students using a different edition of the play may encounter slight differences in both the text and line numbers.


John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2019, February 26). Shakespeare: King Lear - Act 3, Scene 7: Gloucester is Blinded [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Shakespeare: King Lear – Act 3, Scene 7: Gloucester is Blinded." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Feb 2019,

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