King lear 2

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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In Shakespeare's King Lear, Edmund, the illegitimate sone of Gloucester, plans to attain a piece of the land by causing ill feelings between Gloucester and his legitimate son, Edgar. In his monologue at the beginning of Act 1, scene ii, Edmund's tone shows by using sarcasm, questioning, and ridiculing the bitterness that he had been denied what his brother and most others take for granted.

Beginning on line 6, Edmund questions the wrongdoings of his origins. Just because his is "twelve or fourteen moonshines lag of a brother" (Act I, scene ii) why is he base? Questioning his beginnings shows that Edmund has not forgotten or tried to get past his issues with his father and brother. Not being able to forget his problem is a major component of bitterness and Edmund clearly demonstrated this quality.

Sarcasm is used powerfully to show Edmund's animosity toward his brother and other legitimate children.

The word "legitimate" means authentic or genuine and its tone is usually considered to be positive. In this case, however, Edmund uses the word "legitimate" sarcastically when saying, "well, my legitimate," since he does not mean it in a positive way. Again he mentions legitimate negatively saying that he, the base, shall top the legitimate meaning that one day he will exceed his brother. This sarcasm shows the bitterness with which Edmund views all legitimate children.

Another way of showing bitterness, which has almost the same effect as sarcasm, is ridiculing. Edmund feels that married couples are "between asleep and awake" when they go to "creating a whole tribe of fops". This nasty way of referring to legitimate children displays the bitterness with which Edmund views these innocent children.

Edmund has been viewed as a lower class citizen all of his life due to the fact that he is a bastard. This has caused him to grow bitter over time, which is shown in this dialogue when he uses sarcasm, questioning, and ridiculing to convey his tone.