What does Ac2 Scene1 tell us about the society in which King Lear takes place?

Essay by l33godCollege, UndergraduateA+, November 2003

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From the opening of Act2 of King Lear we become aware of the intense deceit at the core of the society in which the play is set; in fact so much so that even within family units immense deception is taking place. Edmund perfectly characterises such deceitfulness when he finds out that the Duke of Cornwall and Regan will be arriving to Gloucester's, his father house, stating that

"This weaves itself perforce into my business." Immediately Edmund's manipulative nature is indeed revealed to the audience. Edmund is aware that his "...father watches" the unfolding events and so therefore extends his plan to ensnare him in his string of lies. Edmund's scheme to steal his brother's inheritance clearly shows the lack of trust and loyalty in the community, for the fact that so cunning an individual, with such opportunistic intentions of malevolence and greed could emerge from the kingdom dose convey a fundamental flaw within the very core of society.

Also it appears that Edmund is the most mentally powerful and dominant character within the play once again showing a fault in the civilisation that we are taken to in the play. It seems that the cruel and sinister appear to be advancing in the world, while the just and honest individuals, such as Cordeila, whom loves her father "...according to [her] bond", are diminished from society. For example, Kent, a loyal servant of Lear questions his king's "...hideous rashness" is also banished. An inconsonant balance between the actions of the character and their consequences is apparent. The righteous seem to be punished for their actions, whereas the "base" are rewarded. For the audience of the time the fact that a "bastard" was seen as escalating himself to a higher social position would have been a revolutionary idea, once...