Edward II

by

Christopher Marlowe

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Edmund, Earl of Kent Character Analysis

Kent is Edward II's brother, and thus spends much of the play torn between loyalty to his family and loyalty to England. Kent initially condemns the English nobles for voicing their dissatisfaction with Edward and Gaveston's relationship; in fact, he considers their open opposition to Edward's actions treasonous and urges his brother to have them executed. At the same time, Kent himself is clearly disturbed by the king's decisions and repeatedly tries to steer him toward a more prudent course of action (e.g. avoiding upsetting the Pope by attacking the Bishop of Coventry). As time goes on and it becomes increasingly clear that Gaveston's voice is the only one Edward will listen to, Kent's absolute allegiance to his brother wavers, and he eventually joins the nobles in rebellion—an action he later comes to regret as an unjustifiable betrayal of his own blood. Kent ultimately attempts to return to his brother's side but is arrested and executed by Mortimer and Isabella. Kent is thus a major vehicle for Marlowe to explore issues related to legitimacy and loyalty.

Edmund, Earl of Kent Quotes in Edward II

The Edward II quotes below are all either spoken by Edmund, Earl of Kent or refer to Edmund, Earl of Kent . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Methuen Drama edition of Edward II published in 2014.
Act 1, Scene 4 Quotes

Edward: Lay hands on that traitor Mortimer!

Mortimer Senior: Lay hands on that traitor Gaveston!

[The NOBLES draw swords]

Kent: Is this the duty that you owe your King?

Warwick: We know our duties; let him know his peers.

Related Characters: Edward II (speaker), Edmund, Earl of Kent (speaker), Mortimer Senior (speaker), Guy, Earl of Warwick (speaker), Piers Gaveston, Mortimer Junior
Page Number: 1.4.20–23
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 5, Scene 3 Quotes

O, miserable is that commonweal, where lords
Keep courts and kings are locked in prison!

Related Characters: Edmund, Earl of Kent (speaker), Edward II
Page Number: 5.3.63–64
Explanation and Analysis:
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Edmund, Earl of Kent Character Timeline in Edward II

The timeline below shows where the character Edmund, Earl of Kent appears in Edward II. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Language and Violence Theme Icon
...by the arrival of Edward and several nobles: Lancaster, Warwick, Mortimer Senior, Mortimer Junior, and Kent. Edward is attempting to persuade the nobility to allow Gaveston's return, although he says in... (full context)
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Fear of the Other and Internal Discord Theme Icon
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
...prefer the low-born Gaveston to those who would “naturally…love and honour [the king]”—i.e. the nobility. Kent then echoes Edward's earlier warning against defying a sovereign, saying that in his father's time... (full context)
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
With the nobles gone, Edward complains about the their attempts to “overrule” him and orders Kent to raise his military banners: he would rather die than give up Gaveston. Hearing this,... (full context)
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Over the protestations of both Kent and Gaveston himself, Edward makes the latter Earl of Cornwall, Lord High Chamberlain, and Chief... (full context)
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...he intends to see Gaveston exiled again. Edward urges Gaveston to attack Coventry even as Kent warns his brother of angering the Pope. Gaveston ignores Kent and assaults the bishop and... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Gaveston and Kent enter, deep in conversation. Gaveston explains that Warwick, Mortimer Senior, Mortimer Junior, and Lancaster (who... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
Kent, Gaveston, and Edward enter. As he seats himself on his throne, Edward taunts the nobles... (full context)
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Fear of the Other and Internal Discord Theme Icon
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
...Lancaster responds that the King cannot speak to the nobles so disrespectfully, and Gaveston and Kent are taken away under guard. Edward views this as the equivalent of “laying violent hands... (full context)
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Kent and Isabella appear, and the Queen asks where Edward is going. Edward rebukes her for... (full context)
Language and Violence Theme Icon
Edward, Gaveston, and Kent leave, and Isabella—now alone—imagines all the ways she might have been spared her husband's abandonment:... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Language and Violence Theme Icon
Edward, Isabella, Lancaster, Mortimer Junior, Warwick, Pembroke, and Kent are waiting for Gaveston's arrival. The King is impatient and preoccupied with thoughts of Gaveston,... (full context)
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
...Gaveston, however, they do so by mockingly referring to his many titles. Edward, appealing to Kent for support, complains of the nobles' behavior, while Gaveston says he cannot tolerate their treatment... (full context)
Fear of the Other and Internal Discord Theme Icon
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
...being executed, to which Warwick responds that Edward is in danger of losing his crown. Kent attempts to quiet Warwick, but Edward interrupts, saying he will “tread upon their heads /... (full context)
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...Lancaster from seeing the King, but the commotion attracts the attention of both Edward and Kent, who emerge from the King's chambers. Mortimer explains what has happened to Mortimer Senior before... (full context)
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
...will instead, “unfold [his] paws / And let their lives' blood slake [his] fury's hunger.” Kent, however, is alarmed by the threat of war and urges his brother to banish Gaveston... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Kent appears before Lancaster, Mortimer Junior, Warwick, and Pembroke, saying that “love to this [their] native... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Fear of the Other and Internal Discord Theme Icon
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Mortimer Junior, Kent, Lancaster, Warwick, and Pembroke appear, and the two sides exchange boasts and insults. Lancaster says... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
Fortune and Tragedy Theme Icon
...Spencer Senior, Spencer Junior, Baldock, and Levune appear, and they have a number of nobles (Kent, Warwick, Lancaster, and Mortimer Junior) under guard. Edward is boasting about his victory, which he... (full context)
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Kent argues that the nobles killed Gaveston for the good of both the country and Edward... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Kent is preparing to join Isabella in France, where he will back up the Queen's claims... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...son makes her and agrees to go to Hainault. At that moment, however, she notices Kent and Mortimer Junior entering. (full context)
Fear of the Other and Internal Discord Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
Fortune and Tragedy Theme Icon
Isabella is surprised to see Kent and Mortimer Junior, whom she had heard were dead. Mortimer, however, explains that he is... (full context)
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Sir John urges Kent and Mortimer Junior to accompany Isabella to Hainault, where they will be able to raise... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
...succeeded in buying off the French nobility and that Isabella, disappointed, went to Hainault with Kent and Mortimer Junior to raise an army. The news of Mortimer's escape and Kent's betrayal... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
Fear of the Other and Internal Discord Theme Icon
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Isabella, Mortimer Junior, Kent, Prince Edward, and Sir John arrive in England. Isabella laments the necessity of civil wars... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 5
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Kent appears in search of Edward, whom he now regrets turning against. Condemning the rebellion against... (full context)
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Kent asks Isabella what she intends to do with Edward II, and Mortimer Junior grows irritated,... (full context)
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...Junior and Baldock have fled with Edward II to Ireland—news which distresses Prince Edward and Kent. Isabella also professes to be upset about her "lord's ill fortune," but says she had... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Language and Violence Theme Icon
...when she sees the king's crown. The Bishop further explains that it’s been discovered that Kent is plotting to help his brother escape, and that Edward has been put in Berkeley's... (full context)
Language and Violence Theme Icon
Fortune and Tragedy Theme Icon
...with Edward, telling him not only to move him from place to place to thwart Kent's plans, but also to “amplify [Edward’s] grief with bitter words.” If Gourney complies with these... (full context)
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
...Mortimer Junior tells Isabella in an aside to keep up her pretense: Prince Edward and Kent have just walked in the room. The two of them continue to speak to one... (full context)
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
The conversation turns to Prince Edward and the Protectorship: Kent denies aspiring to the position, while the Prince himself begs not to be crowned king... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...that the torches be put out as the group approach Kenilworth. At that moment, however, Kent appears, and a struggle breaks out. Gourney and Maltravers's soldiers eventually succeed in seizing Kent... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 4
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
As soon as Edward III is crowned, a group of soldiers bring Kent forward for judgment. When questioned, Kent admits to trying to free Edward II but insists... (full context)