You are on page 1of 1

Model Explanation: Act I, Scene ii Lines 1-6:

“Thou, art my goddess: to thy law

My services are bound. Wherefore should I
Stand in the plague of custom, and permit
The curiosity of nations to deprive me,
For that I some twelve or fourteen o
Lag of a brother? Why bastard? Wherefore base?”
These lines have been taken from Shakespeare’s famous tragedy King Lear. Edmond is the
bastard son of the Earl of Gloucester. As he is the natural son of his father, he cannot get
his share from his father’s property, nor can he be heir to his father’s title. All the time he
is anxious about his position and social status, because people think him wicked and low.
In the given lines, Edmond is talking to himself He declares that his goddess is Nature and
he would follow its law: He is not ready to believe in the Man-made conventions and
customs because such customs deprive him of his share and title. People call him bastard
and base. He can not understand why society makes a difference between a legitimate and
an illegitimate child. He says that physically he is more handsome and mentally more
intelligent, than his legitimate brother. He finds no difference between himself and his
brother Edgar who is the son of a virtuous woman. He declares that he should not suffer
from any handicap because of being illegitimate.
These lines are very important because they are the part of Edmond’s soliloquy. In a
soliloquy a character often expresses his secret and private thoughts. So these lines provide
us a glimpse to the inner working of Edmond’s mind. He rebels against the social customs.
As he is the natural son of his father, he exclaims that he will follow the law of Nature
which is, ‘everyone is for himself and might is right’. At another place he says, “Let me, if
not by birth, have lands by wit.” This declaration of Edmond gives us a hint that his
selfishness and lust for power will create troubles for others. These lines have been written
in blank verse and so they are very powerful. The language seems to be the language of
today. The lines reveal the frustration and rebellious nature of the speaker. Three signs of
interrogation give a colloquial and rhetorical to touch to these lines.

Written&Composed By:
Prof. A.R.Somroo