Seneca's tragedies rework those of all three of the Athenian tragic playwrights whose work has survived. Probably meant to be recited at elite gatherings, they differ from the Greek versions in their long declamatory, narrative accounts of action, their obtrusive moralising, and their bombastic rhetoric. They dwell on detailed accounts of horrible deeds and contain long reflective soliloquies . Though the gods rarely appear in these plays, ghosts and witches abound. Senecan tragedies explore ideas of revenge , the occult, the supernatural, suicide, blood and gore. The Renaissance scholar Julius Caesar Scaliger (1484–1558), who knew both Latin and Greek, preferred Seneca to Euripides.
Thus, although Lear has obviously favored Cordelia, he has been blind to the inherent ingratitude of his two other daughters and is foolish enough to trust them with his livelihood after more foolishly disinheriting Cordelia and exiling Kent. A good example of this is presented in the very first scene. Lear cries to Kent, "Out of my sight!" to which Kent retorts, "See better, Lear, and let me still remain/ The true blank of thine eye" (-159). He wishes to be allowed to remain the one who could center Lear's focus. Yet even when Kent reenters the play disguised, he cannot alter the course that Lear has begun. Lear becomes increasingly blind to the truth around him. Sight, or the lack of it, is referenced a few scenes later more explicitly when Lear himself notices that he has lost sight of what is important, so to say. He cries, "Does any here know me? This is not Lear./ Does Lear walk thus? speak thus? Where are his eyes?" (-217). Kent cannot become his eyes as the tragic plot and subplot move toward blindness and disillusion.