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Self-Interest In Edmund's Metaphor

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When the reader turns their focus to Gloucester, they can immediately see the view he holds over both of his sons. As he speaks to Kent about Edmund, the reader learns that Gloucester has had to explain his unfortunate relation to him so many times now that he is no longer embarrassed by it, but, “brazen to it“ (I.i). Then in the next lines, Gloucester goes on to say that his real son Edgar is “no dearer in my account” (I.i). Thus, even though Edgar is legitimate and Edmund is a ‘bastard child,’ Gloucester doesn’t seem to be very interested in either of them. This self-interest allows Edmund to play to Gloucester’s own interests and fears with ease. It allows Edmund to have his father turn his back on his son without so much as a second thought.…show more content…
Someone arguing for the view of human action would not focus on the fact that Edmund disregarded the gods, as was the supporting fact in the former theory, but instead focus on Edmund’s obsession with ridding himself of the title ‘bastard child,’ and how it drove him to his death. Perhaps it was not divine justice, but his desire to lose the degrading title that was unwillingly bestowed upon him at birth which drove his action to take revenge on his brother for getting all of his father’s inheritance. This drive gets Edmund fairly far in the tragedy, and he almost has it all. He comes so far and is so close to his victory, in fact, that power and success cloud his judgment. Thus, when Edgar comes to him, disguised as another knight and challenges him to battle, Edmund readily agrees to defend his newfound title. The reader later finds out from Goneril that his fight was completely unnecessary, as “By the’ law of arm thou waste not bound to answer/unknown opposite…” (V.iii.). Edgar calls Edmund a traitor and in the heat of the moment, Edmund does not ask him name, but draws his sword. Thus, Goneril explains that did not need to fight. Once he has been slain, she angrily points out that he was not defeated, but, “cozened and bugiled” (V.iii.). One must admit that Edmund is a very smart and conniving man, so when Edmund comes to him and draws his sword, one would think that he’d be a little more wise to risking his life so soon…show more content…
At the end of the play, the reader expects for Cordelia, King Lear, and Gloucester to return to their lives, yet the unforeseen and unwanted death of Cordelia suddenly twists this theory on its head. So what view does King Lear want its reader to take once the tragedy has finished? Did the lives of the characters depend on their view of the divine, or just the right and wrong actions they took throughout the play? The two views are both so equally prominent in the tragedy that a reader could debate the possibility of each. Perhaps the ambiguity and contradicting deaths are a sign that the book does not take a view itself, and desires the reader to debate this question on their own. Perhaps both views are wrong, and King Lear does not mean to leave the reader unsatisfied or questioning, but to promote the idea that man must live as if divine justice exists, even if it's only a product of rich and wishful
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