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King Lear Characters

Edgar is the Earl of Gloucester’s legitimate son and heir, and Lear’s godson. 

He is an honest man, incapable of seeing that others might not be, and is fond of his younger half-brother Edmund, whose advice he takes. He does not habitually carry weapons on him. Forced to flee and hearing himself branded as an outlaw, he disguises himself as a mad beggar, convinced that this is the only way he will escape capture and death. In his mad rants when he pretends to be possessed he accuses himself of every vice under the sun. Helping to keep Lear out of the storm, he finds himself one of three madmen in his hovel, the true, the pretend, and the professional. When his blinded father is put into his care, and reveals that he now knows that Edgar is innocent, Edgar decides to cure Gloucester of his suicidal tendencies by convincing him through trickery that it is divine will that he lives. By painting a view of the cliffs of Dover with his words, he manages to convince Gloucester that he is at the top of them and that he has thrown himself over and survived. Killing Oswald and discovering the letters the steward was carrying, he forms a plot to have his revenge on Edmund, though he lets the battle between English and French take place before he challenges Edmund to single combat. At the last moment before he goes off to fight his brother, he asks for his father’s blessing, revealing his identity, and thereby killing the old man. He is a good enough fighter to best Edmund. He takes over the rule of the kingdom at the end of the play, and will enter history as the man who rid England of wolves. He is a convincing actor, and has a low opinion of sex, thinking that the harms Edmund’s actions caused Gloucester were a reasonable payback for his adultery.


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