A Critical Analysis Of King Leer

’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,

and runs.

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.


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