• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Comparing and contrasting both the characters of Edmund and Edgar In king Lear.

Extracts from this document...


KING LEAR In this essay I will be comparing and contrasting both the characters of Edmund and Edgar. In king Lear, appearances, station and how what others think influences our actions are examined through relationships found in family and services: father and child; nobleman and servant. Even though we believe that what we look like and what we say are reflections of who we are. Shakespeare in King Lear shows that appearances and words are ever deceiving and are not clear indications of the soul or the mind. As we go through the play we begin to see the differences between both the characters. Edmund being the bastard son turns out to be dishonest, deceitful, greedy and very cunning Edmund is the younger and natural or illegitimate son of the Earl of Gloucester. Edmund is energetic and ambitious; he feels that he has been denied the advantages to which his appearance and abilities ought to entitle him. Edgar being the legitimate son turns out to be honest and loving towards his father and every one he comes across. I will also discuss the function of Edmund. At the beginning of the play (I.1.39-51) in King Lear's palace we see the earl of Gloucester and the earl of Kent discussing how Gloucester loves his two sons equally: Edmund being the bastard son and also the elder son and Edgar is the legitimate son. ...read more.


In the letter it reads: this policy and reverence of age makes the world bitter to the best of our times, keeps our fortunes from us till our oldness can not relish them (meaning we are too old to enjoy them). The letter goes on to read; "if our father would sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his revenue for ever, and live the beloved of your brother". (Meaning if our father were put into my power to decide his death or life). So at this point in the play we start to see that Edmund is being very devious and conniving he is going to stitch his brother up because he is jealous of him for being the heir. We start to see similarities between Edmund and the two daughters of Lear. The audience start to realise that Edmund is just as evilly calculating as Gonerill and Regan (though more self-analytical). Edmund feigns knowledge of a plot against his brother and urges Edgar to flee. Edmund cuts himself and pretends upon his father's entrance that Edgar has attacked him because Edmund would not aid him in the patricide (II.1.76-81). In this scene we can see how dishonest, deceitful, greedy and very cunning Edmund is. ...read more.


Now he is killed by the method he used to start his career. As they say, "what goes around comes around". Edmund tries to redeem himself by saying " I pant for life; some good I mean to do despite of mine own nature". By this point Edmund is saying that he did mean to do good but it went wrong. The function of Edmund within the work 'King Lear' is an interesting one. The character of Edmund is key to the sub plot that plays out the interaction of the earl of Gloucester with his two sons. Edmund is the bastard son of the earl of Gloucester. The behaviour of Edmund reflects his status; he is dishonest, deceitful, greedy and very cunning. The motivation for Edmunds behaviour is to get between Gloucester and his legitimate son and heir Edgar. The intention is that he will get rid of Edgar and then stand to inherit all that would have otherwise been Edgar's. From the essay I think we can say that Edmund and Edgar are nothing at all like each other in any way possible. Because Edmund embody avarice, envy, anger, lust and pride; was very cunning, deceitful and selfish. While Edgar embodied faithfulness, unconditional love he was loving, caring, thoughtful, honest and very loyal. I think we can say that Edmund was a "bad" character and Edgar the "good" character in "King Lear" Donna Sales 10/05/07 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level King Lear section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level King Lear essays

  1. Explore the presentation of Edmund in 'King Lear'

    out very explicitly: 'As if we were villains by necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on.'

  2. How does Shakespeare present Edmund in King Lear?

    When a character speaks in verse it suggests that he is being comical or affectionate. For example in Romeo and Juliet the character Friar Lawrence speaks in verse when mimicking the lovers. By doing this Friar Lawrence is imitating the speech that two lovers would use either to show companionship or possible to mock them.

  1. With particular reference to Act 1, Scene 1, show how Shakespeare presents the character ...

    Kent is the first person to actually tell Lear, however, that he is being blind, by saying, "See better, Lear, and let me still remain the true blank of thine eye". Here Kent is saying that Lear is blind, but if he were to learn to see better, he would realise that he is making a huge mistake.

  2. Social injustices in King Lear

    father's short temper 'Tis his own blame' Goneril expresses no sympathy or understand in her words they view his suffering as a form of justice to his years of mishap ruling. Goneril and Regan lived in a patriarchal society, the frustration towards their father's fixed power led them to disown

  1. Explore the ways in which Shakespeare presents the characters of Edmund and Edgar in ...

    The same can be said about Edgar. To present him as a gullible and trusting character at this point in the play, Shakespeare allows Edgar to be quickly and easily convinced by Edmund's lies despite the fact that Edgar knows he has shown no hostilities towards his father.

  2. In Shakespeare's King Lear, the Fools main function is to play three major roles. ...

    crab," meaning that Regan and Goneril are of the same nature and that there is no need for him to go to her after Goneril has rejected his knights (Act1, Scene 5, line 18). However, this does not stop the King from going to meet with his other daughter.

  1. The Nature of Redemption and the Limits of Pessimism in King Lear

    Enticing as it is, however, Stampfer demonstrates that Bradley?s interpretation of the denouement of the play is not supported by the text. In addition to his idea of an essentially benevolent universe, Bradley?s concept of redemption is essentially foreign to King Lear.

  2. Compare and contrast madness: its possible causes; its manifestations; its consequences; and its resolution, ...

    Now even the true must lie to evade death. The scene presented by Shakespeare can be compared to the "natural state of man" as described by Thomas Hobbes in his Leviathan, contemporary to the time of Shakespeare. Hobbes spoke of a pre-societal period of the "war of all against all," of mankind bound only by self-regard.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work