King Lear

Edgar Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
Gloucester's elder, legitimate son. Although at first Edgar comes across as a bit naïve, easily duped by Edmund, he later disguises himself successfully as a madman beggar and manages not only to save himself from the death sentence his misled father has pronounced on him, but also to help Gloucester and Lear and to avenge the wrongs committed by his traitorous half-brother.

Edgar Quotes in King Lear

The King Lear quotes below are all either spoken by Edgar or refer to Edgar. 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:
Fathers, Children, and Siblings Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of King Lear published in 2004.
Act 2, scene 1 Quotes
"My old heart is cracked; it's cracked."
Related Characters: Gloucester (speaker), Edgar
Page Number: 2.1.106
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 2, scene 3 Quotes
"I will preserve myself, and am bethought
To take the basest and most poorest shape
That ever penury in contempt of man
Brought near to beast."
Related Characters: Edgar (speaker)
Related Symbols: Animals, Clothing and Costumes
Page Number: 2.3.6-9
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 3, scene 4 Quotes
"Child Rowland to the dark tower came
His word was still 'Fie, foh, and fum,
I smell the blood of a British man."
Related Characters: Edgar (speaker)
Page Number: 3.4.195-197
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 4, scene 1 Quotes
"The worst is not
So long as we can say 'This is the worst.'"
Related Characters: Edgar (speaker)
Page Number: 4.1.30-31
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 4, scene 6 Quotes
"How fearful
And dizzy tis to cast one's eyes so low!
[…]
I'll look no more
Lest my brain turn and the deficient sight
Topple down headlong."
Related Characters: Edgar (speaker), Gloucester
Page Number: 4.6.16-29
Explanation and Analysis:

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Edgar Character Timeline in King Lear

The timeline below shows where the character Edgar appears in King Lear. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, scene 1
Fathers, Children, and Siblings Theme Icon
Authority and Order Theme Icon
Disintegration, Chaos, Nothingness Theme Icon
Old Age Theme Icon
...him no less than the other "son" he has "by order of law" (1.1.19) (i.e., Edgar). (full context)
Act 1, scene 2
Fathers, Children, and Siblings Theme Icon
Authority and Order Theme Icon
Disintegration, Chaos, Nothingness Theme Icon
...to the audience that he is plotting to steal the land of his half-brother, "legitimate Edgar" (1.2.17), by winning all his father, Gloucester's, affection. (full context)
Act 2, scene 1
Authority and Order Theme Icon
Disintegration, Chaos, Nothingness Theme Icon
...his schemes if he acts boldly and is just a bit lucky. He calls to Edgar to come out of his hiding spot. (full context)
Fathers, Children, and Siblings Theme Icon
Blindness and Insight Theme Icon
Edgar enters. Edmund pretends to be frightened for Edgar's safety. He tells Edgar that Gloucester has... (full context)
Act 2, scene 3
Authority and Order Theme Icon
Disintegration, Chaos, Nothingness Theme Icon
Fooling and Madness Theme Icon
In a soliloquy, Edgar explains that he escaped the "hunt" (2.3.3) sent after him by hiding in the hollow... (full context)
Act 3, scene 4
Fathers, Children, and Siblings Theme Icon
Authority and Order Theme Icon
Disintegration, Chaos, Nothingness Theme Icon
Fooling and Madness Theme Icon
Blindness and Insight Theme Icon
...darts back out, reporting that someone is in the hovel: a spirit named Poor Tom. Edgar emerges raving as if possessed by the "fiend," or devil, in his Bedlam beggar disguise.... (full context)
Act 3, scene 6
Fathers, Children, and Siblings Theme Icon
Authority and Order Theme Icon
Fooling and Madness Theme Icon
Blindness and Insight Theme Icon
...then reports that Lear has gone entirely mad. Gloucester exits as Lear, the Fool, and Edgar enter, raving together. Lear has Edgar and the Fool sit down, announcing that they are... (full context)
Act 3, scene 7
Fathers, Children, and Siblings Theme Icon
Authority and Order Theme Icon
Disintegration, Chaos, Nothingness Theme Icon
Blindness and Insight Theme Icon
...was Edmund himself who betrayed his father. Devastated, Gloucester realizes that he was misled regarding Edgar. He calls upon the gods to forgive him and to help Edgar prosper. (full context)
Authority and Order Theme Icon
Disintegration, Chaos, Nothingness Theme Icon
...they find Cornwall and Regan's actions. Resolving to find "the Bedlam" (125), i.e. the disguised Edgar, to lead Gloucester to safety, they first fetch flax and egg whites to help stop... (full context)
Act 4, scene 1
Fathers, Children, and Siblings Theme Icon
Authority and Order Theme Icon
Disintegration, Chaos, Nothingness Theme Icon
Blindness and Insight Theme Icon
Edgar, disguised as Poor Tom, stands in the wind, reflecting that it is best to be... (full context)
Act 4, scene 6
Fathers, Children, and Siblings Theme Icon
Fooling and Madness Theme Icon
Blindness and Insight Theme Icon
Edgar, now dressed as a peasant, pretends to lead Gloucester up a steep cliff, while in... (full context)