Related Scene: Act II Scene 1 Lines 1-51

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  • In this scene, Edmund sets Edgar up, making him think that he has sinned against his father and the Duke of Cornwall. It is an accurate representation of the health/sickness motif that is present throughout the rest of the story. Health can be represented as “normal” and sane almost, whereas sickness and lust relate to committing sins, deception, and betrayal.
  • Edmund demonstrates both lust and sickness in this scene, through his actions. His actions throughout the rest of the story continue to display those qualities. In this scene, his lust for power, and for advantage over Edgar, overtakes him, and causes him to sin against his brother and father. This sinning also shows a mental sickness, that is revealed more and more as the story progresses.
  • Edgar shows opposing traits, as he shows his “health” in this scene. He trusts his brother, like all brothers should. He fits with the “norm” of honesty that should be present within any family. It is this health that Edmund takes advantage of to trick Edgar.
  • Gloucester shows a slight sickness in this scene, by neglecting Edmund injuries. Edmund whines to his father about a wound he received, but all his father cares about is finding the man who did it, not the well-being of his son. That fact that Edmund is Gloucester’s illegitimate son may have something to do with this. This is against the norm, as a father should care about the well-being of their sons first and foremost.
  • Edgar’s health is continually developed as the story progresses, evident by when he returns to avenge the wrongs Edmund had committed. The same goes for Edmund, except he goes in the direction of sickness and lust, betraying anyone he has to, to go into power and disturb the great chain of being. Gloucester on the other hand, comes into health. His blinding serves as an epiphany for him, and he realizes the deception and sins of his illegitimate son Edmund.
Madness in King Lear Essay

Cite this article as: William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team), "Health/Sickness and Lust in King Lear," in SchoolWorkHelper, 2019,
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