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Word Count: 1,175
The concept of nature in Shakespeares King Lear is not simply one of the many themes contained within the tragedy but rather it can be considered to be the foundation of the entire play Through Edmund and Edgar Shakespeare shows us examples of the struggle between civilization and nature good and evil The very definition of nature seems to be brought up and debated during the course of the tragedy as well In order to completely understand the concept of nature in King Lear its imperative to examine some of the characters especially Edmund whos defined as nature Edmund is the most complex and sympathetic of all villains in King Lear Hes an expert conspirator and a deceitful character thats eager to seize any opportunity and willing to do whatever it takes to achieve his goals which seems similar to Hobbes idea that mankind is always at war with one another to secure their desires However his ambition is interesting because it reflects not only a desire for land and power but also a desire for the recognition denied to him by his status as a bastard Edmund rejects the social order and laws that denied him the same status as Edgar Gloucesters legitimate son In a sense hes the ultimate self-made man and hes such a cold and capable villain that it makes his character very entertaining Edmund understands that he is indeed nature and he even says Thou Nature art my goddess To thy law my services are bound 121-2 Edmund is also fully aware of his evil nature and he reveals it in the following quotation This is the excellent floppery of the world that when we are sick in fortune often the surfeit of our own behavior we make guilty of our disasters the sun the moon and the stars as if we were villains by necessity fools by heavenly compulsion knaves thieves and liars and adulterers by an enforced obedience
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