Loyalty and Disloyalty in King Lear

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King Lear has a large cast of characters that can be classified as either loyal or deceitful. By the End of Act 1 the dissemblers Goneril and Regan have deceived King Lear, whereas in the secondary plot Edmund betrayed his half-brother Edgar and deceived his father, the Earl of Gloucester. As Goneril and Regan have profited, Edmund too intends to possess his sibling’s share by deception. In his soliloquy, Edmund reveals his character and his plan for advancement. On meeting Gloucester he draws attention to the letter by seeming to want to hide it. The fake letter contains a plan by Edgar planning the murder of his own father. The gulling of Gloucester is complete. What had previously appeared to be love and respect soon turns to disrespect and hatred. Lear begins to realise that he has made terrible errors of judgement. He starts discerning in himself a small glimpse of mistake: he let “folly in; And thy judgement out!”. In contrast to the deceitful characters Kent remains loyal to the king despite his banishment, whereas Edgar and Cordelia remain true to their fathers despite being cast off without a second thought. In his disguise Kent might look like a servant, but Kent is a nobleman. Being noble by nature he remains loyal to his master, the king. Kent has deliberately abased himself to remain by Lear’s side, and thus his character contrasts with the self-seeking natures of Regan, Goneril and Edmund. Kent stands as a pattern for Edgar: both use disguise for self-preservation, both risk death if they are caught and discovered, and Edgar like Kent, now embarks upon an act of self-abasement through disguise of appearance.Therefore we got Kent and Edgar in disguise while the hypocrites rule. The casting off clothes and with it their identity to adopt different roles is an important theme in the play. Edgar’s position can also be likened to

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