Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Basic Edmund: Research Prewriting

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Edmund's soliloquy on bastardy which
also introduces his ambivalence
towards sexuality
The goal of this analysis is to focus more on language and form as rhetorical tools which augment Shakespeare's characters and themes.  I was lacking in this in my sonnet analysis, and in response I want to look more at diction, imagery and poetic structure in order to explore the sexuality of Edmund Gloucester.  I'm hoping that looking at these formal elements will give me more material to connect Edmund's asexuality to other texts both Elizabethan and more current.

The variety of sources used in the Slack conversation of our class has made me think more about using other sources that are not necessarily academic, such as film adaptations or playlists or Internet image boards.  This abundance of source material makes me want to explore the visual representations of Edmund and how film or artistic adaptations have commented on his sexuality.  It would be especially interesting to try discussing this topic with both people who have read "King Lear" and people who are not familiar with the play to see what they think.

That all being said, here are some possible thesis statements:
[policy claim]  The character of Edmund in King Lear should be read as an asexual character in order to understand his ambivalence towards his bastardy and link the play to general Elizabethan commentary on illegitimacy.
[definition claim]  Edmund of Gloucester is an asexual character in that he shares similarities to other asexual, power hungry characters in other Shakespeare plays.
[comparison claim]  The conniving bastard Edmund in King Lear is similar to Lady Macbeth from Macbeth in his complete repression of his sexual drives in order to efficiently pursue power at the expense of other, less inhibited characters.
[evaluation claim]  Edmund is a more complex character than the sisters in that he does not seem to be weakened by strong sex drives and he redeems himself before his death.
[causal claim]  Because of his lack of apparent heteronormative sexuality, Edmund has been depicted in modern adaptations as more effeminate or even homosexual, thereby giving an interesting LGBTQ dimension to the Shakespeare play.


  1. I really like the way you phrased your first sentence. I have been focusing on the same thing, but didn't think of the rhetorical devices as "augmenting" the themes, I just thought of them as separate categories. Very interesting how someone can spark a little thought in your head that clarifies what you've been thinking about!

  2. Wow, this is never even a topic that would have come to my mind, but I would be really interested to see where you take it. It definitely makes Shakespeare relevant to modern days. I'm impressed that you were able to come up with this after watching modern visual representations of the play.