Loyalty is something almost everyone wants in any sort of relationship (significant other, family, friends, etc.), but how do you know if that person really is? Loyalty is something that should be expected of someone you trust, and rightfully so. Throughout Shakespeare’s King Lear, many loyalties are tested, some are in disguise and others are pretend. Kent stays loyal to Lear in disguise even after Lear leaves him. Edmund fakes his loyalty to his brother, Edgar, and his father, Gloucester.
In the beginning of Act 1, Kent is honest with King Lear about how incorrectly he was handleing hte situation with Cordelia. While he is stepping out of line, Kent has the best intentions. He has always been honest with King Lear and has always been there for him, even after he was banished. After, he comes back to guide and protect Lear in disguise.“Now, banished Kent, / If thou canst serve where thou dost stand / condemned, / So may it come thy master, whom thou lov’st, / Shall find thee full of labors” (I.iv.4-8). While returning back to Lear is very risky, Kent continues to serve Lear and protect others. He does not give up on Lear and continues to prove his loyalty to him, even if Lear does not know it.
Edmund, who is the illegitimate child of Gloucester, has a difficult time with loyalty. He becomes frustrated that he is not able to gain any power or land since he was born out of wedlock, so he hatches a plan to get that power. He tricks Gloucester into thinking that his legitimate son, Edgar, has turned against him. He forges a letter from Edgar to himself, saying that he is tired of being under his father’s control and plans on killing him. Gloucester gets a hold of this letter and becomes furious with Edgar and is out for him. Edmund informs Edgar and tells him that he needs to leave the castle. When he hears Gloucester coming towards them, he stages a fight against Edgar. Edgar runs away and Gloucester comes to check on Edmund, who cut himself. He tells him that Edgar punished him for refusing to participate in the alleged killing of Gloucester. Gloucester falls fro the trap and banishes Edgar. With Edmund’s twisted loyalties, he successfully gets rid of Edmund and becomes the heir to his father’s assets and power.