Joaquin de Rojas
Kent and Edgar – Epitomes of Loyalty and Friendship
is truly a tragedy in that every one of its characters
suffers some extreme physical and/or emotional trauma.
Both its villains and heroes
confront immense grief, whether deserving of it or not, and many of their friendships and
Yet amongst a sea of treacherous, arrogant, and spineless characters
that cause such destruction, Kent and Edgar bear the lantern of virtue and compassion.
Their loyalties to King Lear and the Earl of Gloucester, along with Cornelia’s loyalty to
her father, are the only true and enduring ones.
At the play’s onset, Gloucester and Edgar may love each other well enough, but
the depths of their loyalties are yet to be tested.
When speaking of Edgar, Gloucester
says that he “tenderly and en- / tirely loves him” (I.ii.99-100) and, initially, doubts
Edmund’s well-contrived lies, believing that Edgar “cannot be such a monster” (96).
only moments hence, Edmund’s machinations succeed in turning Gloucester against
It is probable that Gloucester initially loves and trusts his bastard son Edmund
more than Edgar, even though he claims to love them both the same (I.i.19-21).
made apparent by the incredible speed with which the father is willing to praise Edmund
and denounce Edgar, calling him an “unnatural, detested, brutish / villain!”
Whatever the case, Gloucester is guilty of much; upon being tricked, he over-dramatizes
his situation and acts almost as rash as Lear, displays bad judgment in placing his trust
amongst his sons, and allows himself to be swayed by superstitions, saying, “this villain
of mine / comes under prediction” (112-13).
Although Edmund’s goal is to deceive his