EDMOND CHARACTER ANALYSIS - King Lear and Oedipus connections


EDMOND (complex justice, identity, transformation, treatment,  complex suffering, sympathy, family, pity, society) 

Edmond is perhaps seen as victim of unfair treatment and society, being born a *******, "illegitimate" who initially accepts his unfair treatment. The play opens with Gloucester's embarrassment of his son, where he and Kent play with tasteless puns (e.g. "I cannot conceive you" [K] and "this young fellows mother could" (G)) where he states that he is "blushed to acknowledge him" and blames his existence and "breeding" (which is animal-like) on the mother (Gloucester often finds other reasons to blame his unfortunate happenings on, e.g. the "sun and moon" for Edgar's supposed betrayal) instead of his own "charge", which possibly provokes catharsis on the audience. He labels Edmond a "whoreson" and states that he must send him "away" again (full quote - "he hath been out nine years, and away he shall again."), hinting at Edmonds past treatment. It seems that Gloucester treats Edmond as a joke, due to his "illegitamate" status, and is only his son by "order of law" - and the first possible hint of Edmonds future deceit and reaction to his unfair treatment that Shakespeare gives the audience is "I shall study deserving". This play on words (de-serving) foreshadows Edmonds lack of loyalty and deceit towards both Gloucester, and his legitimate brother, Edgar.  

Edmond's soliloquy is the prime moment where he underlines his plans in order to transform his identity from "illegitimate" to "legitimate", subverting the natural order and expectations that society has placed on him. He is a victim of the primogeniture law - the rule by which eldest son inherits all his father's wealth, lands, and titles. He feels that he "stand(s) in the plague of custom and permit" and feels "deprived". Repetition of plosives "*******", "base", "baseness" reinforce his strong emotions and fury with the ******* identity he was born with, failing to please his father, heightened by the


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