Saturday, April 16, 2011

Edmund's Letter - King Lear


Edmund, bastard son of Gloucester, is found by Gloucester with a letter in his hand. It is a letter he wants his father to see because it is adverse to his legitimate son Edgar. It purports to come from Edgar, describes Glousecter as an aged tyrant, and hints that Edgar and Edmund should murder Gloucester so that they can come into their inheritance. So with affected reluctance Edmund hands the letter over to his father.
King Lear 1.2.28-43

Bacon: Some procure themselves to be surprised at such times as it is like [likely] the party they work upon will suddenly come upon them; and to be found with a letter in their hand, to the end they may be apposed [questioned] of those things which of themselves they desire to utter.
  Essay on Cunning

Comment: So Edmund perpetrates the very ruse, a rare one, which Bacon describes.

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