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Just how admirable is Edmund?

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Introduction

Just how admirable is Edmund? Edmund has many attributes that set him above the rest. He has not one, or two, but several that don't make you just admire him, but in many cases envy him for his God-given abilities. His major strength would be his intelligence: he is arguably the most intelligent character in the play, out-thinking all those around him. Due to his "baseness" he relies on his intellect heavily to help him progress through life. He says "Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit." You do really have to respect Edmund for this as he does pursue this exact course and it is by being better than most that he reaches the climax of his hierarchical career. It is also hugely impressive how he manipulates people, understanding how they think and just pointing them in the right direction like they are puppets. It is in this respect that he plays the role of the devil. He never actively goes out and destroys one person, but with a few adjustments here and there lets others do his work for him, allowing people to damn themselves for him. ...read more.

Middle

It may also be that in doing this Edmund is in fact just looking to satisfy his own conscience rather than help Cordelia but the gesture itself is still very impressive. He also admits that he was possibly wrong about the nobles at the beginning of the play and that even though they are in the position they are in by birth, perhaps they deserve to be there also. He says to Edgar "If thou art noble, I do forgive thee." However, Edmund is far from being a good character in the play and in fact is at the source of more pain and hurt than any other member of the cast. Firstly he is extremely selfish, which is a horrible trait. He will do absolutely anything for self advancement no matter who he hurts and in his case it is his family. He says "This seems a fair deserving and must draw me / That which my father loses, no less than all." He is willing to ruin the man who loves him possibly more than anyone else in the world, a man who fathered him and raised him (although he may have been absent as Edmund is a bastard) ...read more.

Conclusion

For example Oliver Cromwell is greatly admired throughout most of Britain as one of the greatest leaders, military and political that has ever lived yet he still slaughter tens of thousands of Irish citizens, many of whom had surrendered or were women and children. It is easier to admire Edmund in the play than it probably should be also, when he is compared to the other bad characters Regan, Cornwall and Goneril who all by comparison seem a lot worse. Looking at what Edmund has done as well also prompts the question is he actually evil, or just selfish? Everything he has done has been for his own advancement and he can never carry out the worst of acts himself, he leaves that duty to others. At the end of the play when he attempts to save Cordelia and Lear when he realises he will die and hence has nothing to lose, he reveals his information ungrudgingly. He is hugely philosophical about it, he tried his best and even though he came so close to succeeding he ultimately failed ending up where he started, with nothing . To quote Edmund "The wheel is gone full circle", and he can die with dignity knowing he did the best he ever could. ?? ?? ?? ?? Cam Benge (H) ...read more.

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