King Lear


Act 2

Act II, scene i

At Gloucester’s castle, Edmund talks with Curan, a messenger. Curan informs him that Regan and her husband, Cornwall, intend to stay in Gloucester’s castle this evening. Curan then repeats a rumor that a war is brewing between Albany and Cornwall. After Curan’s exit, Edmund delights over this news. He hopes to enmesh Cornwall in his plot against Edgar. Edmund then calls for his brother and encourages him to flee from the castle that night, saying that Cornwall’s arrival is dangerous for him because Cornwall believes Edgar to be in league with Albany. In fear, the gullible Edgar promises to leave that night.

As Gloucester approaches, Edmund self-inflicts an injury to his arm. He tells Gloucester that he got the wound from Edgar, and Gloucester sends several servants to hunt down and kill Edgar. He then promises to find a way to make Edmund his heir.

Regan arrives with Cornwall. They have already heard that Edgar has threatened Gloucester’s life, and they do not hesitate to believe it. Regan suggests that Edgar might have been put up to it by Lear’s knights, with whom he had been seen. Cornwall praises Edmund for his trustworthiness and promises to ally with him. Then Regan requests that Gloucester advise her on how to respond to the letters she has received from her father and Goneril.

Summary: Act II, scene ii

In the courtyard of Gloucester’s castle, Kent encounters Oswald, whom he verbally attacks for having been rude to King Lear at Goneril’s house. Oswald does not remember Kent, and Kent orders him to draw his sword and fight. When Oswald does not, Kent begins beating him. Oswald’s shouts bring Regan, Cornwall, Gloucester and Edmund running to his aid. When asked about his motivation for the attack, Kent harshly critiques Oswald’s character, calling him dishonest and untrustworthy. In Oswald’s defense, Cornwall issues orders to have Kent locked in stocks (an uncomfortable wooden device placed around the legs to...

Sign up to continue reading Act 2 >

Essays About King Lear