King Lear – 3 (continued)
21. The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to plague us:
These words are said by Edgar to his brother Edmund in the Act V of scene III of Shakespeare’s King Lear. Edmund is the bastard son of the Duke of Gloucester. Edgar is his legal son. Edmund is a wicked character who plotted against Edmund and his father.
believed what Edmund said about
Edgar and banished Edgar. Poor Edgar has disguised himself as mad Tom o Bedlam.
He pretends to be a mad beggar. Edmund supported Regan and Goneril against Gloucester . When they
plucked the two eyes of Gloucester ,
Edmund disappeared from the scene. He ordered the death of Lear and
Cordelia. All the sufferings were caused
by the wickedness of Edmund. Finally Edmund is challenged by Edgar for a duel.
Edgar tells his brother Edmund that gods are just and therefore justice will be
done to each and every one according to their work. When wicked things are done
for our pleasure, in course of time these deeds will turn against us to torture
us. Edmund is as wicked as Iago in “Othello”. Gloucester
22. I have a journey, sir, shortly to go;
My master calls me, I must not say no.
These words are said by
to the Duke of Albany in the
end of the play “King Lear”. The King
Lear and his daughters have been killed. So the Duke of Albany asks Kent and
Edgar to be the rulers of the kingdom. But Kent is not interested. He tells Kent that he is going
to make a journey soon. It is his last journey and he will meet his master King
Lear. When Lear was alive, Albany
followed him just as his shadow. Even when the king banished the Earl of Kent,
he diguised himself as Caius, an ordinary man and became a servant of the king
and protected him everywhere. When the King was dead, the Earl of Kent also
lost his hope of life. He wants to die and join with the king. Such is the love
for Lear. Kent
The role and character of the Fool
Shakespeare used the character of the Fool in many of his plays such as the Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, King Lear etc. But the fool in King Lear is a highly developed character. He shines as the star in the sky and all the characters around him are exposed by the shrewd observances of the Fool. He even exposes the foolish decision of the King to divide his kingdom to his two daughters. The Fool has been Lear’s best friend throughout the play. The Fool is the mirror through which we see the blunders of King Lear’s decision to divide his kingdom to his two daughters. The Fool follows the King everywhere just as his shadow criticizing his foolish deeds. The innocent words of the Fool always reduce the horror of the tragedy of King Lear. But the inevitable happens. The king goes mad. At this point, the Fool learns the horrible truth that the tragedy of the King cannot be reversed. The Fool says “And I will go to bed at noon”. It means that the Fool is going to die because he cannot save his master King Lear from the inevitable tragedy. The plot of drama does not require the Fool beyond this point. No power on the earth can restore the lost sanity of the King. So the Fool goes out of the stage. We don’t know whether the Fool has committed suicide. But his words “I’ll go to bed at noon” clearly shows this possibility.