Analysis of Edmund (King Lear)

Topics: William Shakespeare, King Lear, Family Pages: 2 (666 words) Published: December 13, 2010
King Lear
William Shakespeare’s King Lear has many characters that are that are driven by their wants and desires. That drive can either make them or break them. One character in particular is broken by his drive to become powerful and gain recognition.

Edmund, the illegitimate son of Gloucester, has always been overshadowed by the fact that he was born out of wedlock and his brother, Edgar, was not. That prevented Edmund from not getting certain things like becoming king like his brother could achieve. On top of that, his father makes it a point to introduce Edmund as his illegitimate son, "though this knave came something saucily into the world before he was called for, yet was his mother fair; there was good sport at his making, and the whoreson must be acknowledged." All of these things could spark Edmund’s desire to make a name for himself.

In Act II Scene III, Edmund enters with a letter. The letter talks about how Edgar is planning to kill Gloucester when Edmund actually wrote it. The letter causes a riff in his father’s relationship with Edgar, his father calling Edgar a “monstrous, hateful, bestial villain”. In order to the out the truth, Edmund suggests to his father that he should overhear a conversation between him and Edgar talking about his feelings toward their father. That way, Gloucester can hear for himself that Edgar is out to get him.

After Gloucester leaves, Edmund talks with Edgar about how someone wrote a fake letter about him that their father found out about. With the help of his brother, Edgar then decides to lay low and stay at his brother’s house. Both Edgar and Gloucester suspect that Edmund is behind the letter.

Another way that Edmund tries to gain power is to seduce the daughters of King Lear. He does this in order to destroy relationships and to become king. The daughters that he decides to seduce are Goneril and Regan, who happen to be the only daughters on good terms with their father at the moment. He is successful...
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