In this scene we see Gloucester, at his very bleakest, his kind character has been pushed to the very limit of endurance and cannot bear the misery any longer. The extent of his torment is evident by his desire to commit suicide; he wants to be taken to Dover to where the cliff, who s bending head/looks fearfully in the confined deep…
This pessimistic view of the world is justified, and his change of outlook to the world is due to his ironically clearer vision of the world. He can now see the world for what it is, without his eyes, his insight to life has become clearer than when he had his vision, when he was blinded by status and wealth; I stumbled when I saw.
Gloucester now sees the Gods as sadistic rulers who control man s fate; As flies to wanton boys are we to the Gods;/They kill us for their sport. His anguish and misery has left him in a philosophical mood, for the first time seeing truth; he is almost fixated with it. Ironically,he is unaware that he has been given what he asked for might I live to see thee in my touch (Edmund)
Gloucester s once clouded judgement is now much more intelligent, if not accurate. This reflects a subtle theme which runs through the play. The good characters who are wealthy seem to have clouded judgement, but when stripped bare of their status and money, the truth is uncovered both metaphorically and literally. This is true for Edgar, Gloucester and Lear. This seems to suggest that status and wealth are factors which cause the downfall of man.
It is when they lose their exteriors, that they can see things for what they really are. Gloucester s losses have left him with nothing but the truth; something that would be extremely valuable to most, but to Gloucester who has lost everthing it is too late.
Gloucester calls for the superfluous and lust-dieted man, to undo excess, in order for him to see. Gloucester s communist attitude states distribution should undo excess/And each man have enough.
He is speaking from his own experience, he has lost everything but finally has insight. The irony is that it too late, although he knows this he feels his discovery may help others, and so shares it with Poor Tom and the Old man. They may be the only two present while he s speaking but there is a sense that he is taking to the world. His philosophical approach is reminiscent of Edgar s aphorisms, however Gloucester s comments do not seem to be irrelevant.
We can see how his character has developed and how he has become generous, as he speaks graciously to the Old Man and Poor Tom. He has began to see how others may feel.
Gloucester s tone is almost reflective as he contemplates the truth he discovered, whilst he also speaks in defeat as he know the truth has no use for him. He seems to have realised this at the end of the speech, And each man have enough, Dost thou know Dover, as he reverts back to his journey to Dover.
Dover itself is a significant place. The repition of it throughout the play, has given the impression that is symbolic. There can be different interpretations of just how.
It was the place of meeting for Cordelia and Lear, a place of hope perhaps. Also Dover is a symbol of the southernmost point beyond which you cannot go without jumping off, a precipice into the abyss.