THE STORY SO FAR: In a fit of righteous indignation and massive overreaction, King Lear has stormed out of his daughter Goneril's castle and is on his way to meet his other daughter, Regan. Meanwhile, Edmund, the bastard son of the Earl of Gloucester, is carrying out Phase 2 of his diabolical plan to discredit his older, legitimate brother Edgar and seize his inheritance.
Many of Shakespeare's greatest villains are fantastic actors, and Edmund is no exception. He's able to play the loyal son/loyal brother role so well that both Gloucester and Edgar are completely taken in by his ruse. The alternative explanation is, of course, that both Gloucester and Edgar are gullible idiots who are collectively as dumb as a post.
You will note, of course, the obvious parallels between Lear and Gloucester. Both are willfully short-sighted when it comes to their children, with Lear being irrationally angered by Cordelia's honesty and Gloucester all-too-ready to believe the worst of Edgar.
What I'm trying to get at is that they're both terrible parents and just about deserve what's coming to them.
Edmund is moving rapidly up in the world. He's gone from "bastard with no inheritance" to "bastard with inheritance serving one of the two most powerful men in the country". He's still a complete bastard, though.
Tune in again on Friday, when we'll see what happens when the lit match that is King Lear is dropped into this already-smoldering powder keg! I'm guessing it's not going to be pretty.