SHAKESPEARE'S KING LEAR
ACT I SCENE II
Adam Nelson performs the role of consummate schemer Edmund, a Machiavellian character eager to seize any opportunity and willing to do anything to achieve his goals. His ambition is interesting insofar as it reflects not only a thirst for land and power but also a desire for the recognition denied to him by his status as a bastard. His serial treachery is not merely self-interested; it is a conscious rebellion against the social order that has denied him the same status as Gloucester’s legitimate son, Edgar. He is the ultimate self-made man, and he is such a cold and capable villain that it is entertaining to watch him work, much as the audience can appreciate the clever wickedness of Iago in Othello. Does Edmund’s villainy spring from some innate cruelty or simply from a thwarted, misdirected desire for familial love?