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King Lear

William Shakespeare

Contents

Act 1, scenes 1–2

page 3 of 3

Act 1, scenes 1–2

Act 1, scenes 1–2

Act 1, scenes 1–2

Act 1, scenes 1–2

Edmund is significantly more complicated than the other major villains in the play, Regan and Goneril. He schemes against his father’s life, but not just because he wants to inherit his wealth and land; indeed, his principal motive seems to be desire for recognition and perhaps even the love denied him because of his bastard status. The first time we see Edmund, at the beginning of Act 1, scene 1, his own father is mocking him because he is illegitimate. Edmund’s treachery can be seen as a rebellion against the social hierarchy that makes him worthless in the eyes of the world. He rejects the “plague of custom” (1.2.3) that makes society disdain him and dedicates himself to “nature” (1.2.1)—that is, raw, unconstrained existence. He will not be the only character to invoke nature in the course of the play—the complicated relationships that obtain among the natural world, the gods above, and fate or justice pervade the entire play.

Test Your Understanding with the Act 1, scenes 1–2 Quiz

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ACT 1, SCENES 1–2 QUIZ

What does Gloucester say about Edmund when he introduces him?
That Edmund appears fearsome but is actually gentle
That Edmund is illegitimate but that he loves him
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Act 1, scenes 1–2 QUIZ

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the Gloucester side story

by Merpandderp, April 07, 2013

to help with the side story, think of the movie Thor:

Gloucester: Odin-son
Edgar- Thor (the good brother; gets punished and illegitimate brother takes over for a while)
Edmund-Loki (evil, illegitimate son who is jealous of his brother)

MIND BLOWN. Stan Lee probably read Shakespeare

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35 out of 59 people found this helpful

Help with the Gloucester side story

by Merpandderp, April 07, 2013

it is kind of confusing dealing with King Lear and his three daughters, and then having to deal with Gloucester. My suggestion, think of the movie Thor:

-Gloucester: Odin-son
-Edgar: Thor (the good brother who is supposed to succeed Odin-son/Gloucester when he dies; is deceived by Loki/Edmund and then gets punished)
-Edmund: Loki (the evil, illegitimate brother who is jealous of Thor/Edgar (except Loki was adopted); gets control of the throne for a while)

Hope this helps

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9 out of 13 people found this helpful

Fathers, Sons and Daughters and a Lot of Sorrow

by ReadingShakespeareby450th, December 04, 2013

There's “a time to keep and a time to cast away." King Lear just got his times mixed up, and it gave us a great play. Finished Lear on my way to reading and blogging about them all by April 2014.

In case you're interested in a few of my thoughts on the play, visit my blog (also there, I've linked to a good production of the play that's available on the PBS Great Performances website):

http://ow.ly/rsPRj

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4 out of 6 people found this helpful

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