Juxtaposition In King Lear

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No protagonist’s journey is complete without an antagonist there to reap in their sorrows. One could argue that King Lear there is no protagonist, but there are clear antagonists. Edmund, bastard son of Gloucester, is one of these painfully obvious villains. Every motive he has is to make himself the victor and drag someone else down. The treachery of Edmund’s villainy enhances the meaning of King Lear by putting him in situations that are not only dramatic, but outrageous. Edmund’s villainous ways add to the theme of madness and betrayal of King Lear. One thing that any reader can be sure of when they begin reading King Lear is that there is some tension between Edmund and his brother Edgar. Most of the problems stem from Edgar’s legitimate…show more content…
It is only an inference that Edmund would not have been happy with Edgar’s status and would then want his father’s. Edmund had to first convey his dedication to his father in order to usurp him. That is where his plan with Edgar comes into play. The reader is made aware that Gloucester has fallen for Edmund’s schemes when he is exclaims “where is the villain Edmund” (II.i, 37). Edmund, like a snake, is able to trick his father into believing that he is the ‘good’ son pinning all the blame on Edgar. To Gloucester, he only has one son and heir, Edmund. This is when Edmund’s truly villainous betrayal comes to light. Gloucester discovers, in one of the worst ways possible, his son’s betrayal when he has just had his eyes torn out. He cries out “Where is my son Edmund? / Edmund…” and Regan answers with “Thou call’st on him that he hates thee. It was he / that made the overture of thy treasons to us” (III.vii, 86-90). Gloucester is calling out to his ‘last’ family member only to learn that he has been betrayed by Edmund. In a sense, Gloucester is alone in the world. He believes that his legitimate son has betrayed him and now has his illegitimate son. His family has betrayed him and now he is utterly alone. Gloucester is an old man with both his heirs as traitors it is a heinous injustice that Edmund has done to his family. With the estrange, due to Edmund’s schemes, Edgar and a traitor…show more content…
His desire for power and status is very clear that there is no mistaking it for something else. Most of the other characters also have reserves of what they will and will not do, at least for the beginning of the play, but Edmund simply does not care. Father, brother, and even lovers, he will not let anyone stand in the way of what he wants most. The treachery of Edmund’s villainous ways is significant to the meaning of King Lear because of how far he is willingly to go to get what he wants and betray his family. Betrayal and madness are two of the major themes of King Lear and Edmund is the epitome of both. His betrayal is so authentic that it is maddening. It is head-spinning to think of the lengths that Edmund has gone to just so he could have title other than bastard. Even his redemption with Edgar is a bit too improbable. With all that Edmund had done to their family, you would think that Edgar would not easily accept him back with open arms. Edmund is a true villain with his dramatic and outrageous betrayal. His true villain status is also seen in his redemption with how easily he manipulates his brother into forgiving him. Edmund did horrible things and Edgar forgives him right then and there because of a few speeches from his brother. Edmund, the illegitimate son of Gloucester, is the true villain
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