The relationships in Shakespeare's play King Lear change Gloucester's death, and claims that the letter is written by Edgar, when in fact, it is Once Gloucester analyzes the hand writing in the letter and questions Edmund. analysis, and relation to the question may be timely. illegitimate son, Edmund – discussing King Lear's decision to divide his kingdom thus When Edgar arrives , Edmund questions Edgar as to how he may have offended Gloucester. Why should you care about what Edmund says in William Shakespeare's Topics; Character Roles (Protagonist, Antagonist. Edgar will inherit everything when his father dies and Edmund will get nothing If you want to think about this some more, check out "Symbols," where we discussion the relationship between "Old.
Until that time he must remain in disguise. Those who seek to earn love must wait until they are at the height of their powers before they lay claim to it. And this moment never quite comes, as it never quite comes for Edgar. He reveals himself to Gloucester fully hoping for success against Edmund, but prior to the point when he has attained it. But it is too late, as it must always be too late for those who insist upon complete success.
The quest for complete worthiness as the condition of love can end only in death. No wonder he thinks first of himself when he sees his father. For since he really does plan eventually to impress Gloucester with his worthiness, he must do so only when he feels impressive. Again and again Gloucester blesses him, but Edgar does not hear. But Edgar is too busy with his plans to pay attention.
When he finally asks for what has already been given but not accepted, the request is as superfluous as it is untimely. We learn finally that those who seek to earn parental love and who, like Edgar, thereby make its attainment impossibly difficult become deeply self-deceived. Edgar really believes that he is concealing his identity, the true inner sense of his own unworthiness, in order to protect and save Gloucester.
But Edgar is really protecting himself. Those who seek to win the love of those others who really matter the most to them can so easily convince themselves that deception is a strategy undertaken for the good of the deceived rather than for the protection of the deceiver.
We may even suggest that the most common fantasy of the disgraced person is this, namely, that in withholding the truth about himself from those whose love he most seeks and needs, he is really protecting them, whereas in fact he is protecting himself from having to take the immense risk of facing these others as he really knows himself and feels himself to be. Thus, what begins as estrangement from others quickly becomes, under the pressure of the endeavor to earn love, first deception and then self-deception.
We can now perhaps begin to see that Shakespeare really does show us, in the character of Edgar, what happens to those who seek to earn parental love. Yes, self-mutilated children feigning madness are rare things, but persons of low self-worth seeking vainly to achieve a kind of worthiness in order to merit affection are altogether too common.
Yes, halting and pathetic pilgrimages to Dover are not to be seen every day, but lifetimes spent in living through disguises, deceptions, and self-deceptions are common enough and pathetic enough. All of this seems rather grim, but there may be hope, even for Edgar.
In seeking vainly to teach and save his father he is himself educated in the ways of justice and love. And we see the first small fruits of that education in the very speech we have been analyzing. Two small words in that speech have rather large implications.
He has come to understand that telling his father a true story of what the two of them had endured together and inflicted upon one another was a far better way both of expressing filial love and of asking for a blessing than vanquishing a brother or standing in full armor and at full strength before his father.
And he frames the narration of his telling of that story so as to show us how deeply he has come to identify with his father. Though he has already learned much about the dark ways of love and justice, he is still perhaps too much like Gloucester, still not ready to occupy the position that he will occupy at the end of the play.
But he will lose another father. And that loss will teach both him and us some more lessons about love and justice. These lessons will dawn upon us as we discover how and why Edgar has become less and less like Gloucester and more and more like his other father, King Lear. Just as Gloucester had two sons and was bound to one, according to Gloucester himself, only by blood and nature and to the other by blood and law, so Edgar had two fathers, bound to one by both nature and law and to the other by apparently nurture and character.
If we bear these complex connections in mind, we can learn a great deal about the several aspects of paternal and filial love—nature or blood, law or convention, and nurture or character—by observing the ordinarily conjoint aspects of these loves in their isolated operation.
Parent Child Relationships- King Lear by on Prezi
Edmund seems to inherit only the blood lust, such that nature becomes his goddess, his only source of attachment to his father, and the engine of his blind ambition. Edgar inherits a preoccupation with law, legitimacy, and, as we have seen, justice.
To witness the drama between Gloucester and Edmund is to witness the power of the blood tie and its horrifying inadequacy as the sole basis for paternity and filial devotion. To witness the long pilgrimage of Gloucester and Edgar is, as we have seen, to fathom the importance of law and justice as an aspect of paternal and filial devotion, even as we grow to feel the sad inadequacy of justice as the sole basis for paternal and filial love.
Gloucester seems simply to lurch between nature and law as defining his paternity. He sometimes speaks, especially regarding Edmund, as though blood were an all-powerful tie between father and son. At other times, especially regarding Edgar, he speaks as though the law were strong enough to revoke nature itself, to sever the tie of blood and the deep affections that go with it.
I loved him, friend. He needs, not repentance for a single piece of bad judgment, but the power of discerning character and the motivation to do so. He not only names Edgar, he knows who Edgar is. Indeed Edgar is Lear himself, possessed of the same great fault as a child that undoes Lear as a parent. Lear, the parent, tries, at the beginning of the play, to found justice upon love, to divide the kingdom in accordance with the extent to which each of his children loves him.
Throughout the opening actions of the play, i. The more you love, the more material goods you deserve.
King Lear Beyond Reason: Love and Justice in the Family
Edgar wants to found love upon justice, as we have seen. We may wonder, for example, why Lear should unthinkingly assume that Poor Tom has been reduced to such a state because he has given everything away to his daughters III, iv. Asking them to do the same to love him or to profess love for him in order to secure favors, as Lear does at the beginning of the play seems perfectly reasonable, since Lear has in effect been doing something like that with his daughters all along.
To expect gratitude as the proper response to gracious love is one thing. To love in a way that aims at gratitude is quite another: Both men learn from opposite sides of the problem the would-be lover and would-be beloved; the parent and the child that the truest love must not be motivated by the prospect of returns. Lear learns from the fact that his love for his daughters was always so motivated and he was hence driven mad by filial ingratitude, Edgar, from the fact that his project was, as we have seen, doomed to failure both by its own logic and its own psycho-logic.
To endeavor to earn unconditional love is a contradiction in terms, one that deepens the very longings it seeks to satisfy. In order for Lear and Edgar to lead us to feel our way through to these harsh truths about love and justice, parents and children, we must see them as they see themselves, as reverse mirror images of one another. The fool prepares us for this seeing. But Edgar, as we have seen, discovers a more profound truth in the exact reverse of this ditty: Fathers that are blind do make their children wear rags.
For the audience as for the characters, matters of love and justice come to be more and more deeply bound up with matters of knowledge and perception. And we have learned as well that the operation of any one of these aspects to the utter exclusion of the others can lead to hideous results. By focusing our attention upon Edgar and his relationships to his two fathers, we have also been able to discern how crucial it is to construe these complicated matters not in terms of static concepts but in terms of changing patterns of human affection and regard over the course of a lifetime, or a pilgrimage.
The failure to emphasize this crucial longitudinal feature of parental and filial love has led even some of the best philosophers to offer inadequate or unnecessarily perplexing accounts of these matters of love and justice between parents and children.
Is it so because philia in the highest and best sense of the word is superior to justice in that it includes the complete fulfillment of demands between friends for fair and equal treatment? Or do friends have no need of justice because justice and philia, though distinct and sometimes conflicting, are coextensive, i.
When Aristotle takes his examples from friendships among persons who are not akin to one another, the former seems to be the case, that is, justice between such friends is both completed and superseded by philia. But when Aristotle takes his examples from friendships among persons who are akin to one another, the latter seems to be the case. The point here is not to fault Aristotle for these seeming quandaries, for the same difficulties appear in King Lear.
It is as though filial and parental love cannot be fathomed by considering these loves exclusively in terms of philia, eros, or charity, or even in terms of some combination of them. One can perhaps only watch and be affected into understanding. It would seem that, on the basis of this analysis, children should love their parents more than parents love their children if there is to be a friendship in the highest and best sense among parents and children.
On the other hand, elsewhere in his discussion of friendship, when Aristotle elaborates more clearly the character of filial love, he seems again to contradict himself.
The relationship between Edmund and Edgar- Joseph Manza by joseph manza on Prezi
Her moving love for her father has come to exceed his for her, and this seems just and fitting in part because of the magnitude of the action. We sense, in the cases of Lear, Gloucester, and their noblest children, that we have witnessed lifetimes unfolding before us, pilgrimages if you will.
When asked to capture filial love in speech, Cordelia speaks fittingly and truly of her duties, even as she intimates the dangers inherent in any implicitly quantitive understanding of love by speaking of giving half of her love to her husband, half to Lear. Between parents and children, love is a matter of living in a loving manner over time: Even so, we live from day to day, and we have seen from the greatly disturbing examples of Lear and Edgar that justice is a necessary part not only of parental love but also of filial love.
But if the mingling of love and justice is necessary, is it necessarily tragic? This finally is the great question Lear forces upon us. This seems to me perhaps the most important lesson the play suggests to us. Though the world of King Lear is finally a bleakly pagan one, its characters articulate a variety of theological convictions that are informed by and that in turn inform their more human loves. But Edmund has some solid economic impetus for his actions, and he acts from a complexity of reasons, many of which are similar to those of Goneril and Regan.
To rid himself of his father, Edmund feigns regret and laments that his nature, which is to honour his father, must be subordinate to the loyalty he feels for his country.
Thus, Edmund excuses the betrayal of his own father, having willingly and easily left his father vulnerable to Cornwall's anger. Later, Edmund shows no hesitation, nor any concern about killing the king or Cordelia.
Yet in the end, Edmund repents and tries to rescind his order to execute Cordelia and Lear, but it is done too late: Cordelia has already been executed at Edmund's orders. Because of primogenitureEdmund will inherit nothing from his father. If Lear, Cordelia, and Kent represent the old ways of monarchy, order, and a distinct hierarchy, then Edmund is the most representative of a new order which adheres to a Machiavellian code.
Edmund's determination to undo his brother and claim his father's title causes him to cut his own arm early in the play to make an imaginary fight between Edgar his brother and himself more convincing. Late in the play, Edmund begins to adhere to the traditional values of society, and tries to repent for his sins, but he crucially delays in rescinding his order to execute Lear and Cordelia.