Family Dynamics

In our world today, family is considered very important to most people. When people have bad relationships with their family members, they try and fix them if it’s possible. In other words, a lot rides on healthy relationships. In Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of King Lear,” things are a little different. To begin, Edmund is the “bastard son” since he was born out of wedlock. In modern day, someone is not considered any less than their sibling since because they have a different mother or father than them. Not only is the concept of family different by calling a son illegitimate because they were born by two people who were not married, but Edmund completely ruins the relationships he has with his father and brother to obtain money and land. Edmund is so furious at the fact his brother Edgar will get everything, he goes to great lengths. He first turns his father against Edgar with a fake letter and then betrays his father, later in scene 3, by telling Cornwall details about the French army helping the king. I find it interesting how much Edmund will do to receive money and fortune, and it says a lot about how important the title someone had was during the time of the play.

Not only does Edmund’s situation tell a lot about family dynamics during that time, but so does the main conflict regarding King Lear and his daughters. His daughters rebel against the king after getting sick of Lear abusing his power. Although many believe they did the right thing by standing up to their dad, some may also argue it reaches a point where enough is enough and it would have been a good idea to help Lear, before he went mad. It’s clear family dynamic back then was very different from how it is now. My question is if Edmund’s and Lear’s daughters acts are justifiable, and did Lear, Gloucester, and Edgar deserve what they got?

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