Analysis of Edmund's Soliliquy in Act 5 Scene 1 in King Lear
The portion of `The Tragedy of King Lear' I chose begins on line 55 of act five scene one and continues to line 64. I chose this selection because it includes much information about plot and character. Prior to my selection Regan questions Edmund closely about his relationship with her sister, Goneril, because Regan suspects they have been intimate. Edmund denies these accusations at the beginning of act five scene one, but states his true intentions in his soliloquy starting on line 55. Shortly afterwards at the beginning of act five scene three Cordelia and King Lear are captured and held prisoner. In the selection I chose, Edmund expresses his true feelings about the love triangle he and the sisters Goneril and Reagan are in.
"... Neither can be enjoyed,
If both remain alive: to take the widow
Exasperates, makes mad her sister Goneril;
And hardly shall I carry out my side," (V, i, ll 58-61)
Edmund conveys how though both sisters are vying for his love and eventually his hand in marriage, he does not love either, and is only playing them for his own benefit; he just wants to increase his power. "Stands on me to defend, not to debate." (V, i, ll 69)
The selection I chose develops character in the play. Edmund's soliloquy shows how foolish the sisters really are, competing for the love of someone who is repulsed by the thought of them. Also it is ironic their rivalry that helped them get their land from Lear by outdoing each other with flattery for him is that what kills them, while their sister who didn't compete with false flattery against the two and got no land comes out on top. This soliloquy is a response to Regan's earlier discussion with Edmund:
Regan. "I shall never endure her: dear my lord,
Be not familiar with her."
Edmund. "Fear me not.-
She and the Duke her husband!"(V, i, ll 15-18)
In Edmund's subsequent soliloquy, he puts all feelings of love, respect, and loyalty aside and shows he intends to use the sisters as tools to acquire power. He suggests this when he says, "Neither can be enjoyed..." (V, i, ll 58) meaning he would not enjoy a marriage with either of the sisters. Edmund further shows his dislike of the sisters Goneril and Regan when he refers to them as `adders': "Each jealous of the other, as the stung /Are of the Adder." (V, i, ll 56-57). Edmund's soliloquy reveals much about the sisters characteristics also. It shows they will stop at nothing to achieve their desires, and to satisfy their self-destructive greed. Edmund...