The scene is set in Gloucester’s castle, where one of the servants tells Edmund that Regan and her husband, the duke of Cornwall are coming to the castle that night. Curan also mentions that tensions are rising between the duke of Cornwall and Albany, Goneril’s husband.
Edmund’s manipulative mind is delighted about the visit, as he plans to use it as a means of getting rid of Edgar. He calls Edgar, who is in hiding and informs him that Cornwall is angry with him that he has taken Albany’s side in this dispute. He then tells him that his father has discovered his hiding place and that he should flee once night falls. Edmund pulls out his sword when he sees his father approaching and pretends to be duelling with Edgar, who is seen running away by his father.
Edmund cuts himself with his own sword and tells his father that Edgar wounded him after he tried to get him to join in the plot to kill Gloucester and take his title. Gloucester sends men in search of Edgar, while he praises Edmund for his loyalty. He tells him that he will find a way for him to inherit his land and titles. “Loyal and natural boy, I’ll work the means to make thee capable.”
Cornwall and Regan arrive at Gloucester’s house and are told of Edgar’s plot to kill his father. Regan mentions that she has received letters from Lear and Goneril, with conflicting stories and ask Gloucester for his advice.
- Why do you think trouble is brewing between Albany and Cornwall?
- How does Edmund make Edgar look guilty in this scene? What does this show about Edmund’s manipulative nature and Edgar’s naivety?
- How does Gloucester reward Edmund for his ‘loyalty?’
- Is there anything to be admired in Edmund’s personality? Explain your answer.
- So far in the play, good people are being destroyed by evil. Do you agree of disagree with this statement?
- Why do you think Regan wants Gloucester’s advice about the letters?