King Lear

Edmund Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
Gloucester's younger, illegitimate son. Edmund resents the fact that the accident of his birth has deprived him of legal status (and, therefore, an inheritance). He schemes to turn Gloucester against his legitimate son, Edgar, and eventually usurp his title. Eloquent and seductively wicked, Edmund almost succeeds in carrying out his malign plots to fruition.

Edmund Quotes in King Lear

The King Lear quotes below are all either spoken by Edmund or refer to Edmund. 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 1, scene 2 Quotes
"Thou, Nature, art my goddess."
Related Characters: Edmund (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Stars, Heavens, and the Gods
Page Number: 1.2.1
Explanation and Analysis:

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"As if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion."
Related Characters: Edmund (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Stars, Heavens, and the Gods
Page Number: 1.2.128-129
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Edmund Character Timeline in King Lear

The timeline below shows where the character Edmund 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
...his power and divide it among his daughters. Gloucester introduces Kent to his illegitimate son, Edmund, who is standing nearby. Gloucester says that, although Edmund is a "knave" (1.1.21) born out... (full context)
Act 1, scene 2
Fathers, Children, and Siblings Theme Icon
Authority and Order Theme Icon
Disintegration, Chaos, Nothingness Theme Icon
Edmund stands alone on stage, criticizing the injustice of the laws and customs that deprive him... (full context)
Act 2, scene 1
Authority and Order Theme Icon
Disintegration, Chaos, Nothingness Theme Icon
At Gloucester's court, Curran mentions to Edmund that there are rumors of imminent war between Cornwall and Albany. Curran also mentions that... (full context)
Act 2, scene 2
Old Age Theme Icon
Blindness and Insight Theme Icon
Hearing the ruckus, Edmund, Cornwall, Regan, Gloucester, and his servants, enter, and demand to know what is going on.... (full context)
Act 3, scene 3
Fathers, Children, and Siblings Theme Icon
Authority and Order Theme Icon
Disintegration, Chaos, Nothingness Theme Icon
Blindness and Insight Theme Icon
Back inside, Gloucester confides in Edmund that he does not like the "unnatural dealing" (3.3.2) that Goneril and Regan have shown... (full context)
Act 3, scene 5
Fathers, Children, and Siblings Theme Icon
Authority and Order Theme Icon
Cornwall enters with Edmund, carrying the letter reporting news of the invasion from France (which Gloucester mentioned to Edmund... (full context)
Act 3, scene 7
Fathers, Children, and Siblings Theme Icon
Authority and Order Theme Icon
Disintegration, Chaos, Nothingness Theme Icon
Cornwall enters with Regan, Goneril, Edmund and servants. Handing Goneril the letter with news that the army of France has landed,... (full context)
Act 4, scene 2
Fathers, Children, and Siblings Theme Icon
Authority and Order Theme Icon
Disintegration, Chaos, Nothingness Theme Icon
Having traveled from Gloucester's—now Edmund's—castle, Goneril and Edmund arrive at Goneril's palace. Oswald emerges, reporting that Albany is "changed" (2.1.4)... (full context)
Act 4, scene 5
Fathers, Children, and Siblings Theme Icon
Authority and Order Theme Icon
Disintegration, Chaos, Nothingness Theme Icon
Back at Gloucester's former palace, widowed Regan questions Oswald about Goneril and Edmund. She pauses to explain that Edmund himself has gone to kill Gloucester—whose pitiful appearance, blinded... (full context)
Act 4, scene 6
Disintegration, Chaos, Nothingness Theme Icon
Fooling and Madness Theme Icon
Blindness and Insight Theme Icon
...the Gentleman for an update. He reports that the battle between the British forces of Edmund, Goneril, and Regan and the French force led by Cordelia is imminent. (full context)
Act 4, scene 7
Blindness and Insight Theme Icon
Kent remains on stage with a Gentleman. They discuss the state of the battle: Edmund is leading the British force. The Gentleman states that there is a rumor that Kent... (full context)
Act 5, scene 1
Fathers, Children, and Siblings Theme Icon
Authority and Order Theme Icon
Disintegration, Chaos, Nothingness Theme Icon
Edmund, leading the British forces with Regan, sends a messenger to Albany to confirm that Albany... (full context)
Act 5, scene 3
Authority and Order Theme Icon
Disintegration, Chaos, Nothingness Theme Icon
Edmund orders that the captured Lear and Cordelia be taken away to prison. Cordelia, speaking with... (full context)