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Free Study Guide-King Lear by William Shakespeare-Free Online Book Notes
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ACT III, SCENE 5

Summary

The next scene is a brief exchange between Edmund and Cornwall. Edmund plots against his father, Gloucester; he tells the Duke about a letter showing Gloucester to be an accomplice to the invasion of Britain by France. To reward Edmund for the warning, Cornwall makes him the Earl of Gloucester and issues orders for Gloucester's arrest. Edmund expresses his deep loyalty to the Duke. He then goes off to find the hiding place of his father. He hopes to find Gloucester helping the king so that he can incriminate him even further.


Notes

In this scene, Edmund begins to openly implement his plot against his father. In truly hypocritical fashion, he bemoans the fact that his affection for his father must take second place to his loyalty to his country; but he has learned (supposedly) that his father is helping with the French invasion of Britain. In telling this lie, he shows he has no compunction in achieving his aims at the cost of destroying another person, even if it is his father. In fact, by lying, Edmund moves one step forward in achieving his objective.

Cornwall is also exposed as a villain. He uses the words "trust" and "love" as if he himself were a paragon of virtue; instead, he also is a deceptive and cunning character who cannot be trusted.

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Free Study Guide-King Lear by William Shakespeare-Free Online Synopsis
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