Gloucester and Edmund

A discussion of the subplot of Gloucester and Edmund in “King Lear” by William Shakespeare.

The paper reviews the play “King Lear” by William Shakespeare, a tragedy about the downfall of a powerful king and how his flawed judgment affected society at large. It shows how the subplot of Gloucester and Edmund is crucial to the play as Shakespeare has interwoven it as such that the main-plot can’t survive on its own. It examines how Edgar appears throughout Lear’s suffering and how the way that Edmund orders Lear and Cordelia’s death emphasizes how the two stories are inter-connected. The sub-plot intensifies the tragedy and highlights the important issues of the play such as natural order, filial ingratitude and self-knowledge.
Filial ingratitude is one of the themes in the play and both Lear and Gloucester suffer from it. This occurs because they trust their manipulative children and drive their loyal children away. Cordelia is banished to France when she claims that she cannot, heave my heart into my mouth and Edgar assumes the identity of Tom O’ Bedlam after he is made a fugitive. Edmund, Goneril and Regan are surrounded with lies, greed and lust. However, Edmund is a bastard son and could be expected to be of a base nature. He embraces his illegitimacy, Thou Nature art my goddess Now Gods stand up for bastards. On the other hand, Goneril and Regan are both Lear’s legitimate daughters and their evil actions are not in their nature, they grow in evil as a result of Lear’s flawed judgment and claims that, the best of his time hath been but rash. This contrast in their children highlights the fact that Lear is a victim of his own nature whereas Gloucester is a victim of Edmund’s machinations.