Monday, November 7, 2016

Edmund: The Overlooked and Understudied

Share it Please
Love this shot of Edmund and Goneril - King Lear ♡:

Photo courtesy of The Costume Room
While 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.


  1. I like the idea that you can picture Edmund in more ways than the one we might see on our first read. We read this play in a different class, and I also noticed more to him than I did before. What I would avoid doing is taking too many angles so that it seems easy to classify Edmund in different ways just by writing about him differently. (I hope that makes some sort of sense.) I found this humorous little casual source about Edmund: but it actually hits on some of the things you talked about. Edmund isn't all that he seems to be!

  2. This kind of reminds me of my reading class and how when we reread things, we learn more about that thing, obviously...But this idea of us missing a lot of the characteristics of Edmund is facinating! I am sure this will be a great paper!

  3. I like your strategy of going to pictures first rather than articles. It is something I haven't thought of before.