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Blaise writes...

Hey Greg! Long time, no question.

I know I should ask something related to "Gargoyles," or "Spider-Man," but instead, my question is about a Shakespeare character.

A couple of nights ago I caught a televised version of the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of "King Lear" on KCET (with Sir Ian McKellan as Lear, no less). Seeing this production, I was reminded of your affinity for the character of Edmund.

I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on Edmund's "change of heart" towards the end of the play. Why the change? What brought it about? You played Edmund in a production, yes? How did you perform this scene?

Greg responds...

My interpretation is that Edmund's world has been rocked. Up to just before receiving his mortal wound, he was consistently atheistic, a non-believer capable of exploiting the beliefs of others for his cynical ends. I believe he KNEW he was fighting Edgar at the end, and I believe he was confident that he was the better warrior. But if Edgar could beat him, despite his "legitimate" brother's lack of ability, then maybe there's some truth to the notion that God favors the sword of the man in the right. To Edmund, that might be the only possible explanation for him having lost that duel. (Ironically, he wouldn't take non-superstitious factors into account, like the psychological hardening of Edgar over the course of the play.) "Some good I mean to do before mine own end," says Edmund. At the end of his life, the victory of Edgar has made him -- if not quite a believer -- superstitious. If Edgar can win, then maybe God, the soul, fate, the stars, right and wrong, etc. do have an influence on the actions of man. So he's hedging his bets on the afterlife by providing some truth. It's not exactly selfless, though not ENTIRELY cynical, since I can't imagine he's fully conscious of all this, given the complete lack of time to process events.

I'm not sure if I was a good enough actor to play all the nuances of the above, but that's how I view it. And in the one act play that I wrote about Edmund in college, that's the interpretation I used.

Response recorded on April 29, 2009