’s Daughters’Attraction To Edmund. Essay, Research Paper
Shakespeare? King Lear is a story of treachery and
deceit. The villainy of the play knows no bounds. Family
lines are ignored in an overwhelming quest for power. This
villainy is epitomized in the character of Edmund, bastard
son of the Earl of Gloucester.
Edmund is displayed as a " most toad-spotted
traitor." When we first see Edmund, he is already knee
deep in treachery. His need for power has already clouded
his mind to the extent that his first act is a double-
cross of his own brother. Edmund composes a false letter
to his father implicating his brother, Edgar in a plot to
kill Gloucester. Edmund then goes to Edgar and convinces
him to run away. Edgar, like his father is easily deceived,
Edmund?s evil trickery continues to increase in its
cruelty until he commits an inconceivable crime. Edmund
has reached a point in his pursuit of power that he will
stop at nothing to gain more. He writes another letter.
This one is similar to the first, except instead of
implicating his brother to his father, it implicates his
father in a plot with France to kill The Duke of Cornwall.
The King decides that Gloucester?s supposed treachery
cannot be tolerated and orders that his eyes be torn out.
At this point, Edmund seems to be unequivocally evil.
This is undoubtedly false.
Two of the other characters of the play, Goneril and
Regan surely equal Edmund?s ferocity in their quest for
power. Our first glimpse at the two surely begins to prove
that fact. In this scene, the King asks that each of his
three daughters profess their undying love to him before
he distributes parts of the kingdom to them. Goneril and
Regan both, unlike their sister Cordelia who is to true of
heart to sink to such a level, give incredibly pompous
speeches telling of how great their love for their father
is. The speeches, as we soon find out, are total lies.
As soon as they receive their land, the two, accompanied
by their husbands, join forces, and, using their newly
found power, strip their father of all power. They used
their father?s own need for affection to manipulate him
and take his power. This is indeed an act worthy of the
most disgusting of person?s.
Having taken this very quick glimpse into King Lear
shows us a very good reason for both Goneril and Regan to
be attracted to Edmund. Edmund shares their ambition-power.
He shares their strength-treachery. And he is possibly
the only person more evil than they are. Evil has a
tendency to align itself with evil. In its constant quest
to triumph over good evil unites to gain power. The two
daughters follow this pattern. They are instinctively
drawn to the pure evil that emanates from Edmund?s very
being. Their attraction to Edmund is merely a symptom of
their quest for power.