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Working Title: Complexities of Character: Edmund’s Inner Struggles
Working Thesis: Because Edmund attempts to save Lear and Cordelia, he should not be read as a flat, heartless character but rather as a complex man with conflicting interests and even redemptive qualities.
Annotated Bibliography (Social and Performance)
Arnold, Judd; Expert
I read an article that he wrote concerning King Lear’s support system in the play, and how this ultimately helps to redeem him.
I have emailed Arnold concerning Edmund- how he had virtually no support system and no encouragement during the play. I wanted to know his thoughts on whether that makes Edmund a more sympathetic character or not. If Lear was only saved due to his friends and family, should we be merciful to Edmund since his father constantly brought up his bastard nature?
Muratore, Christopher; Peer
Chris is a member of my Shakespeare class. We have actually been in a few classes together, and we worked together on reading A Merchant of Venice.
Chris spoke of writing a paper regarding Edmund’s sexuality. His comments on Slack have been rather interesting, and I have actually started collecting them in order to compare Chris’ homosexual/asexual readings of Edmund with other readings of Edmund as a stereotypical womanizing heterosexual.
Perry, Alex; Friend
Alex is my fiancé, and he enjoys discussing different moral dilemmas.
Alex and I talked about the effectiveness of deathbed repentance. We both agree that it all depends on the sinner’s sincerity; if Edmund truly wished to save Lear and Ophelia, he could be considered repented of his sins.
Renaissance Theatre Company. “King Lear by William Shakespeare (1994)- Starring Sir John Gielgud and Kenneth Branagh.” Youtube, uploaded by Roman Styran, 15 June 2015,
This audio version of the play phenomenally portrays the emotion in each character. I especially love the final scenes between Edmund and Edgar because I can hear the urgency in Edmund’s voice while he tries to save Lear and Cordelia, and then his urgency switches to desperation as people do not immediately run to follow his suggestions.
Roberts, Sinéad, The Costume Room; Enthusiast
Sinéad Roberts runs her own business called The Costume Room, and she therefore has plenty of interaction with different portrayals of Shakespearean characters. I found her by searching Pinterest for images of Edmund.
Roberts comments on one photo of Edmund that she loves this particular portrayal. In the photo Edmund is gazing down rather lovingly at Goneril, and he appears to be pushing her hair back behind her ear. This photo shows an entirely different interpretation of Edmund than the interpretation that Chris suggests.
Sutton, Montgomery. “Edmund, ‘King Lear’-‘Thou, Nature, art my goddess.’” Youtube, uploaded by Montgomery Sutton, 25 August 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= bEpwrjpDpJs
This short recitation of Edmund’s soliloquy ‘Thou, Nature, art my goddess” emphasizes Edmund’s feelings of inferiority. Not only is there a focus on Edmund’s god being nature (he is humanist, and this supports my paper), but Sutton also portrays Edmund and his goals as an underdog “comeuppance” story that most people love to see.