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Photo courtesy of The Costume RoomWhile reading King Lear in class, I did not feel that we analyzed much of Edmund. As the most prominent antagonist, I found this rather odd. Sure, his motivation seems obvious and he clearly goes to villainous lengths in order to achieve his goal. However, by the end of the play my perception of Edmund had been changed. Rather than a straightforward, evil mastermind, I was reading Edmund as a character with conflicting motivations, sympathetic qualities, and a chance for redemption.
With a quick search on Google Images I was able to find several different portrayals of Edmund. Some show how vengeance could influence him, others show his contemplative side, and one even shows how conflicted he must have been with his decisions. Different plays emphasize different aspects of Edmund's character; they would be unable to do this if these aspects did not exist in the original play. Furthermore, I was referred to a source that discusses the societal stigma surrounding bastard children during the Elizabethan Era. The more I dig, the more I find qualities in Edmund that show how he does not have just one motivation, and he does not progress with a complete disregard for conscience.