We saw in Chapter 2 how The Rape of Lucrece is concerned with the question of whether ‘To see sad sights moves more than hear them told’ (1324), and the present chapter is, in part, a consideration of King Lear in the light of this statement. As many critics have noted, there is a continual emphasis upon ‘seeing’ in King Lear, and there are various references to both literal and metaphorical blindness, including Kent’s ‘See better, Lear’ (1.1.159) and Gloucester’s ‘I stumbled when I saw’ (4.1.21).1 In the play’s opening scene, Goneril implies that seeing is the most valuable of the senses when she claims that she loves her father ‘Dearer than eyesight … Beyond what can be valued’ (1.1.56-7). Yet the play asks us to consider whether seeing something is genuinely more valuable than having others tell us about it, or, perhaps by extension, reading about it. King Lear is also concerned to explore the relationship between tragedy and narrative: the play’s characters, in particular Edgar, often attempt to make sense of the play’s events by converting them into narrative form. This is an unenviable task, as the events depicted in King Lear are far bleaker and more unbearable than those we find in Hamlet, for example. One of the most suggestive lines in the play is Edgar’s ‘I would not take this from report: it is, / And my heart breaks at it’ (4.6.137-8). This stark phrase, ‘it is’ – which recalls Hamlet’s ‘“Seems”, madam – nay it is, I know not “seems”’ (1.2.76) – arguably represents Shakespeare’s quest for an un-artful ‘reality’ that cannot be described in language, or represented in narrative form. As he watches the heartrending encounter between his blind father and the mad Lear, Edgar implicitly agrees with the assumption that seeing ‘sad sights’ is far more moving than hearing a mere narrative. Yet the relationship that Edgar sets up here between visual experience and verbal description is perhaps more complex than it first appears. Why, one might ask, does Edgar feel the need to describe this relationship – or to point to this non-linguistic ‘it’ – in the first place? Is the alleged power of this particular sad sight even dependent upon Edgar’s comparison with an imaginary ‘report’ of the same event?