Edmund and Edgar, Loki and Thor

“Well then, / Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land. / Our father’s love is to the bastard Edmund / As to th’ legitimate… Edmund the base / Shall top the legitimate. I grow, I prosper”(I.ii.17-22).

“To prove to Father that I am a worthy son! When he wakes, I will have saved his life, I will have destroyed that race of monsters, and I will be true heir to the throne!”(Branagh, 1:35:48-1:35:59).

In Thor (2011), Thor is set to take the throne in Asgard in place of his father. However, when Thor is accused of inciting conflict with the Frost Giants, he is banished to Earth, and his brother Loki becomes the crown prince in his place. As the movie continues, it becomes clear that Loki sabotaged his brother in hopes of becoming their father’s true heir. It is also revealed that Loki is not actually an Asgardian, and is instead an abandoned Frost Giant whom Odin adopted. When Loki discovers this, he recalls all of the times that it has been obvious that his father loved Thor more than him. His feelings of jealousy and greed result in him actively working to dethrone his brother and steal his place.

This directly parallels the relationship between Edmund and Edgar in King Lear. Edmund, like Loki, is the bastard child and was always inherently loved less by his father. And, like Loki, Edmund conspires against his brother in hopes of regaining what he feels his brother has stolen from him. As Loki claims his brother’s throne, Edmund claims his brother’s land.

Edgar, like Thor, must quickly adopt a new role in order to stay alive. Thor must adapt to life on Earth, a harsh change from his life as royalty on Asgard. Edgar must assimilate to life as a beggar, or a “Poor Tom” – a severe downgrade from his previous role as nobility in England. And in their respective stories, Edgar and Thor represent goodness, righteousness, and strong core values, contrasted sharply with their brothers who represent greed, resentment, and more.

Personally, I doubt these similarities were unintentional. Kenneth Branagh, director of Thor, is a dedicated fan of Shakespeare – he has even directed and starred in some of his own adaptations of Shakespeare’s famous works. Tom Hiddleston, the actor who portrayed Loki, also has strong roots in Shakespearean theater. With this in mind, it is fascinating to see how two characters in a Marvel superhero movie can so directly parallel these two Shakespearean characters.

5 thoughts on “Edmund and Edgar, Loki and Thor

  1. Kianna G.

    Woah, I love this connection of King Lear and Shakespeare to Thor and Marvel. I agree, these similarities probably were not coincidental. Shakespeare has influenced and inspired many writers and directors. I can definitely see how Thor is Edgar and Loki is Edmund as their intentions and actions are similar.

    Like

  2. Mirabella V.

    I thought that this post was a really interesting connection between our reading and something more modern and popular. I think that it goes to show how much Shakespeare’s plays are used to provide a skeleton in a lot of popular media today. The similarities you pointed out between Loki and Thor were really cool to see side by side.

    Like

  3. LUKE L

    I really like the comparison you made here. I hadn’t thought of it that way before but it totally fits. Oswald’s intentions aren’t all bad, the issue lies with his execution and lack of some moral principles.

    Like

  4. Evelyn R

    This is a brilliant connection to the Marvel Universe and our 1608 story of King Lear. Although I haven’t yet watched these movies it is clear that power and family when in relation to one another is a huge motifs in many stories/films now a days. How relationships are ruined and sides are taken in order to do whats best for ones self, and the affects of the betrayls and on the family/friends. Or at least is a very powerful and popular motif seen in all human life as our nature is to family and greed.

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  5. Abby S.

    I actually watched Thor recently, and this is a really good connection to King Lear. It’s so interesting how these themes seem to show up in different stories and areas over the years. It really shows the impact Shakesphere made on not only literature, but everything.

    Like

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