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King Lear Coursework Edmund's plot to supplant Edgar and gain his father's inheritance begins in Act 1ii.What is the importance of this scene in the context of the play as a whole

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King Lear Coursework Edmund's plot to supplant Edgar and gain his father's inheritance begins in Act 1ii. What is the importance of this scene in the context of the play as a whole? * In a play of immense grandeur, Shakespeare has created within King Lear; a character so depraved that he appears to step beyond the realms of forgiveness. Act 1ii is the keystone of King Lear - its significance and influence radiates throughout the whole of the play. Interwoven with and parallel to the central story line, the subplot is used to enhance and develop the key themes of this tragic masterpiece. The scene also begins the plot to crack the 'bond...'twixt son and father'. Driven by a selfish desire to displace his brother, and through his imperious and cunning performance, Edmund reveals to us a devious nature that we must question: does this Machiavellian malcontent have a worthy motivation? In addition to using Act 1ii as a device for divulging Edmund's intent, we see themes developing that establish themselves as the basis for the play. In this scene, we see Edmund challenging the society and its traditions as he questions his illegitimacy and his social status, 'Why brand they us/ With 'base'?'. His deprivation in society and being seen as lower and inferior to his brother questions the prejudices of society. ...read more.


It is through their afflictions that they truly become wise. The use of deception and persuasion through masked identities is a major factor and links closely with the theme of sight. This is that of appearance and reality. This theme can be identified amongst various different points in the play. The characters wear disguises, either to hide their physical appearance or their character. We see Kent appear in disguise after being banished from the kingdom by Lear. We also see Edgar disguise himself as Tom O'Bedlam in Act 2. Here he takes liberties in a total role-reversal to achieve full affect of this 'make-believe' fool. He does this by presenting himself to Lear as mad. The irony in this is where Edgar is mad in appearance, Lear is mad in reality. Despite these disguises, the most effective character at mendacity within the whole of the play is Edmund. By masking his personality and persuading both his father and his brother that he is loyal to them both, he takes on false roles and beliefs similar to that of his father, 'what should follow these eclipses'. With the ability to seduce both Goneril and Regan at the same time, Edmund also persuades Cornwall to embrace him, 'Natures of such deep trust we shall much need'. ...read more.


They are also described not only as behaving like 'monsters of the deep', but also 'pelican sisters'. It is these animal instincts that ultimately serve to consume them. However, within these descriptions of the sisters, we may see similarities surface when concerning Edmund. Although a fantastical creature, we see Gloucester's last ounce of hope in Edgar's defence in Act 1ii, when he states that Edgar 'cannot be such a monster.' In the final act we see Edmund acknowledge his fate and fortune by saying 'the wheel is come full circle, I am here'. The irony here is that Edmund himself mocked his father, Gloucester, for believing in such things. Evidently so, the wheel has come full circle. In my opinion, I believe that Act 1ii offers a foundation to which the rest of the play is built upon. It sets the base on which the plots of Lear and Edmund are constructed, and therefore its importance is irrefutable. It links all aspects of various different themes, both major and minor, together, to create what ultimately is, 'The Tragedy of King Lear'. In tragic pathos, in dramatic force, in grandeur of sentiment and diction, Lear has no superior in all the wide range of the world's drama. The language is sublime, and this Shakespearean tragedy has the advantage of dealing with human beings, human passions, and human frailties, especially those of the continuing complexities of the family, sibling rivalries, greed aging, power and love. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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