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King Lear: Act 1 Scene 2
Key: plot form language structure character
Lines 1-22: Edmund speaks in blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter).
Soliloquy (when a character is on stage alone, addressing the audience giving
the audience an insight into the characters thoughts
Lines 1-22: Edmund wants to know why he has to be treated as a lesser
person than his brother Edgar just because he is illegitimate. He says he is
just as good as his brother and seems frustrated that he is treated
"Why brand they us with base? With baseness? Basterdy? Base, base?" the
repetition of `base' suggests a tone of anger and frustration as been treated
like he is at the bottom of social order.
"Well then legitimate Edgar, I must have your land" suggests to the audience
he is plotting to take Edgar's land.
Lines 22-120: Gloucester enters and wants to know what the letter Edmund
is holding contains. Edmund is reluctant to show him, but Gloucester then
discovers its contents is a plan to kill Gloucester written by Edgar,
Gloucester is sure that Edgar is plotting to kill him and he wants to
immediately find Edgar and speak to him, but Edmund pleads with
Gloucester to give Edgar a chance to explain himself. Edmund offer to find
out what Edgar is really up to and invite Gloucester to listen to their
Lines 76-79 lots of different adjectives to describe how evil Edgar is,
which all connote the very most evil a person could be such as "abhorred"
and "unnatural, detested, brutish". These express Gloucester's anger and
shock at what Edgar has dared to plot.
Lines 23-25: exclamative sentences to show his shock at what Lear has just
"If our father would sleep till I waked him, you should enjoy half his
revenue" this is a hint in the letter that Edgar plans to kill Gloucester and
share the land he will gain with Edmund.
Lines 56-59: lots of interrogatives and exclamatives showing Gloucester's
panic and anger by having lots of unanswered questions together.
Lines 91-94: decides to say that Edmund would speak to Edgar and allow
Gloucester to listen to the conversation. Here Edmund is starting to
manipulate Edgar and Gloucester, as he was the one who actually wrote the
letter and not Edgar, Edmund did that to frame Edgar.
Lines 105-120: feels that all that is going wrong is due to the alignments of
the planets and stars (astrology), suggests the superstition of people at the
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Lines 121-188: Edmund thinks his father is too quick to blame his
misfortunes on astrology. Edgar enters and Edmund tells Edgar of what
influence the planets and stars have over their lives. Despite just mocking
this very thought (suggesting further manipulation by Edmund) he tells
Edgar to think carefully of how he may have offended their father. Edgar is
angry that someone has ruined his character and Edmund tells him to keep
out of his father's way for a while.…read more