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

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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