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4. Act 1, Scene 2: Edmund’s Plot
About this Lecture
In this module, we explore Act 1, Scene 2, in which Edmund reveals to his father, Gloucester, the plot against his life. In particular, we focus on: (i) the figure of Edmund and the tradition of bastard children in Shakespeare (e.g. Don John in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, Faulconbridge in ‘King John’, etc.); (ii) the importance of astrology/astronomy in Gloucester’s reading of the situation and the theory of the Harmony of the Spheres; and (iii) the interaction between Edmund and Edgar.
In this twenty-five part course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Shakespeare’s King Lear. We begin with a broad introduction to the historical, political and intellectual context of early 17th-century England. After that, we go through the play scene by scene, providing close reading and detailed analysis, with commentary on character, plot, themes and motifs, language, symbolism – and more.
We use the Arden (Third Series) edition of the play. Students using a different edition of the play may encounter slight differences in both the text and line numbers.
John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.
Cite this Lecture
McRae, J. (2019, February 26). Shakespeare: King Lear - Act 1, Scene 2: Edmund’s Plot [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/shakespeare-king-lear-john-mcrae/act-1-scene-2-edmund-s-plot
McRae, J. "Shakespeare: King Lear – Act 1, Scene 2: Edmund’s Plot." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Feb 2019, https://www.massolit.io/courses/shakespeare-king-lear-john-mcrae/act-1-scene-2-edmund-s-plot