What are the three aspects of Edgar's disguise as Poor Tom?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Three aspects of Edgars disguise as poor Tom are first, that he is mad or insane. He pretends he escaped from Bedlam, an insane asylum. Second, he pretends to be a beggar, with nothing more than an old blanket to cover himself with against the elements. Finally, he tells Lear and the others that he was once a proud servant who had an affair with his mistress. He claims to have been dishonest, stealthy, greedy, and lazy.

All of these personas distance him greatly from the real Edgar his father or Lear would recognize. As eNotes point out, the insane were invisible in this society, so Lear and Gloucester were not likely to examine his appearance too closely. The same could be said of beggars. Finally, the former servant that Edgar describes is so different from Edgar himself in character that it is unlikely anyone would associate him with that figure.

Edgar has done a good job of thinking through his disguise.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Poor Tom is actually Edgar, because Edgar thinks that his father wants him dead. His deceitful brother has filled his head with lies. Second, Poor Tom is just pretending to be mad, but Lear relates to this madness because he truly is losing his mind.
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial