ction To Edmund.
Shakespeare King Lear is a story of treachery and deceit. The villainy of the play knows no bounds. Familylines are ignored in an overwhelming quest for power. Thisvillainy is epitomized in the character of Edmund, bastardson 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 cloudedhis mind to the extent that his first act is a double-cross of his own brother. Edmund composes a false letterto his father implicating his brother, Edgar in a plot tokill Gloucester. Edmund then goes to Edgar and convinceshim to run away. Edgar, like his father is easily deceived,and runs. Edmunds evil trickery continues to increase in itscruelty until he commits an inconceivable crime. Edmundhas reached a point in his pursuit of power that he willstop 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 Gloucesters 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 andRegan surely equal Edmunds ferocity in their quest for power. Our first glimpse at the two surely begins to provethat 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 andRegan both, unlike their sister Cordelia who is to true ofheart 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 fathers own need for affection to manipulate him and take his power. This is indeed an act worthy of the most disgusting of persons.
Having taken this very quick glimpse into King Learshows us a very good reason for both Goneril and Regan tobe 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 questto 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 Edmunds very being. Their attraction to Edmund is merely a symptom of their quest for power.