What is Edgar's philosophy in Act IV of King Lear?

Expert Answers info

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write9,598 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Edgar is stoical about his reversal of fortune. Stoicism was an ancient school of philosophy that taught one how to endure extreme hardship without complaint, and Edgar certainly displays exemplary stoicism during his soliloquy in Act IV.

Unlike Lear, who's never really come to terms with his decline in social status, Edgar understands that when you've reached rock bottom, the only way is up. Also unlike Lear, Edgar admires the honesty that comes with people openly condemning you instead of doing it behind your back after flattering you to your face.

The contrast with Lear is notable. He was perfectly satisfied to hear public declarations of love from his daughters in return for giving them his kingdom, even though two of them never really loved or respected him. But Lear didn't seem to care about any of that; he just wanted to be flattered.

Edgar's stoicism in Act IV has given him a greater insight than just about anyone else in the play into the true nature of...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 519 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write13,728 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial