Edmund in Shakespeare's King Lear

Topics: William Shakespeare, King Lear, Philip Sidney Pages: 3 (666 words) Published: November 6, 2005
Shakespeare: King Lear intentional

3a) From the text it can be seen that Edmund has been set as one of the Villains of the play. His inexorable position as a bastard in society has made Edmund bitter and resentful, "I should have been that I am had the

maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my
basterdizing."
Edmund feels a desire for the recognition denied to him by his status as a bastard. There is a triadic structure of astronomical imagery,
"we make guilty of our disasters the sun,
the moon and the stars."
The triadic structure helps illustrate Edmund's negative feelings towards the way people were reliant on their beliefs in astrology.

Throughout Edmund's speech (lines 118-133) there is an abundance of enjambment, "My father compounded with my
mother under the dragon's tail and nativity was
under Ursa Major, so that it follows I am rough and
lecherous. Fut!"
The enjambment serves to show that Edmund was talking with much emotion and enthusiasm. The quote also emphasizes Edmund's feelings against astrology. He mocks "Ursa Major" which was a certain kind of arrangement of stars. The archaic word "Fut" which is a grammatical feature was used to mock the supposed destiny of Edmund being "rough and lecherous".

Throughout this passage of text Shakespeare is cleverly questioning the attitudes and values towards the laws of inheritance, the Chain of Being, the belief in Pagan gods and astrology. This is an important contextual feature. People about the Shakespearian time went by the laws of inheritance, the Chain of Being, the belief in Pagan gods and astrology indisputably. The laws of inheritance and Chain of Being were not beneficial to Bastards but it was not seen as unjust due to the strong beliefs of the society in Shakespearean times. In Act 1 scene 2, lines 115-175 Shakespeare embodies his ideas in Edmund, "This is the excellent foppery of the world, that

when we are sick in fortune, often the surfeits of our
own behaviour,...
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