Act III - Scene V

Gloucester's castle.

[Enter Cornwall and Edumund]

I will have my revenge ere I depart his house.
How, my lord, I may be censured, that nature thus gives
way to loyalty, something fears me to think of.
I now perceive, it was not altogether your brother's
evil disposition made him seek his death; but a provoking(5)
merit, set a-work by a reprovable badness in himself.
How malicious is my fortune, that I must repent to be
just! This is the letter he spoke of, which approves him an
intelligent party to the advantages of France: O heavens! that
this treason were not, or not I the detector!(10)
Go with me to the duchess.
If the matter of this paper be certain, you have mighty
business in hand.
True or false, it hath made thee earl of Gloucester.
Seek out where thy father is, that he may be ready for our(15)
[Aside] If I find him comforting the king, it will stuff
his suspicion more fully.—I will persevere in my course of
loyalty, though the conflict be sore between that and my
I will lay trust upon thee; and thou shalt find a dearer
father in my love.



  1. Note that in the previous line Edmund states that it pains him to turn his father in because he is of his own “blood.” Cornwall suggests that he can take on the role of father to Edmund both politically, as he can grant a title to Edmund that a father usually grants, and biologically, in that he will replace a father by “blood.” Considering that Edmund has just betrayed his own father and Cornwall has taken him in as a figurative “son,” this illustrates Cornwall’s blindness to the danger that Edmund presents.

    — Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff
  2. Cornwall is grateful that Edmund has turned in his father as a traitor, believing that this was supposedly difficult to do. He tells Edmund that he will be made Earl of Gloucester as a reward for his integrity.

    — Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff
  3. Edmund’s betrayal of his own father is the ultimate corruption of the bond between father and child. Thus, Edmund’s breach of this parent-child contract in the name of justice and righteousness is ironic, because the audience knows of Edmund’s depravity.

    — Kayla, Owl Eyes Staff