After Timon, another story of a Great Man abandoning the world. But in Shakespeare renunciation comes with a cost. In the same way Cordelia’s silence is the opposite of meekness: she wills her estrangement. Her renunciation is striking for a Shakespearean heroine: refusing eloquence, refusing poetry.
In the first Act, Lear plays at being mad, before actually being so. He jokes about blindness, before experiencing it. And then he anticipates his eventual disassociation when he shouts at Goneril, “Doth any here know me? This is not Lear. / Doth Lear walk thus? Speak thus? Where are his eyes?”
Later it’s Gloucester who answers, after picking up the trick of oracular utterance from Lear and the Fool, “I see it feelingly.”