King Lear Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Closely analyzing Edmund's "Thou, nature, art my goddess" speech in King Lear, explain what Edmund says and what it shows about his character.

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Edmund is the earl of Gloucester's illegitimate son. As the play develops, we learn how Edmund's villainy is formed by his resentment of his illegitimate status, his father's treatment of him, and his jealousy of his older half-brother, Edgar. In the early scenes, Shakespeare encourages the audience to understand how being a "bastard" has shaped his worldview and fueled his desire to gain what he believes is rightfully his.

In act 1, scene 1, Gloucester introduces Edmund as his illegitimate son to his friend and ally, the earl of Kent. Act 1, scene 2, shows Edmund's complicated relationship with his father and his envy of Edgar. The speech in question is a soliloquy : Edmund is alone on the stage. It seems to convey his reaction to a letter he holds, which is supposedly from Edgar. The letter's content is only revealed later in the scene after his father enters and demands to know what he was reading. Using this technique, Shakespeare provides direct insights into Edmund himself rather...

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