King Lear Essay

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Edmund is a manipulative and deceitful character who contributes to the outcome of

King Lear

Many characters can contribute to the events of a story in several ways. In the play, King Lear, written by William Shakespeare, several situations are presented which leads the audience to conclude that Edmund is a manipulative and deceitful character, whose actions contribute to the outcome of King Lear’s death. Edmunds plans to steal land and legitimacy by manipulating his father, Gloucester, and brother, Edgar, against each another, resulting in the need for Edgar to adopt a role as a crazed beggar. Also, Edmund betrays his father’s trust by revealing, to Cornwall, a letter that makes Gloucester accountable for treason, thus making Edmund promoted to the Earl of Gloucester. Lastly, Edmund promises his love to both Goneril and Reagan, which untimely leads them to their deaths. Through his misleading behaviour and his manipulation of other characters, Edmund has an intense influence on the outcome of many events in the play.

In King Lear, numerous examples are present which reveal Edmund’s determination to steal Edgar’s, Edmund’s half-brother, inheritance from Gloucester. In Edmund tricking Gloucester, making Gloucester believe Edgar is trying to kill him and vice versa. This results in Edgar taking the role of a crazed beggar so he is not caught by Gloucester. One example of Edmund's manipulation, to achieve his goal, is when he fabricates a letter from Edgar asking for Edmund's help in overthrowing Gloucester, their father. When Edmund reveals this letter to Gloucester, he believes it without question, showing the extent to which he has been deceived by Edmund: “O villain, villain! His very opinion in the / letter. Abhorred villain, unnatural, detested, / brutish villain; worse than brutish! Go, Sirrah, seek / him. I’ll apprehend him. Abominable villain! / where is he?” (Shakespeare 1.2.80-84). After knowing of the fictional letter, Gloucester sends...
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