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Does Edmund have legitimate cause for complaint?

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enotes | Valedictorian

Posted September 8, 2013 at 3:56 PM via web

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Does Edmund have legitimate cause for complaint?

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enotes | Valedictorian

Posted September 8, 2013 at 3:56 PM (Answer #1)

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The bastard Edmund is even more villainous than Lear's unfaithful daughters. They exploit the circumstances that Lear creates; Edmund creates the circumstances that cause the break between Gloucester and his legitimate son Edgar. Nevertheless, Edmund does have some cause for complaint. Not only is he the product of his father's licentious behavior, Gloucester maligns Edmund's character. But Shakespeare assigns so many evil tasks to Edmund that the validity of his complaint against Gloucester is negated. Once Edgar has fled, Edmund moves to get rid of his father as well so that he can inherit Gloucester's estate in short order. Kent is sorely mistreated by Edmund, but above all, it is Edmund who arranges the death of the innocent Cordelia. Edmund's last minute effort to redeem himself fails. His status as a bastard provides Edmund with a cause for discontent, but his actions go well beyond the redress of any legitimate complaint.

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