- After pretending to be a possessed homeless man for most of the play, Edgar cures his father Gloucester of being Driven to Suicide by tricking him into thinking that he's jumped off a cliff, and then goes on to win a swordfight against the Magnificent Bastard (literally) Edmund. Oh, and he wears a helmet just so he can remove his disguise at the Most Dramatic Moment Possible. And all is right in the land! Kinda.
Edgar: Draw thy sword, That if my speech offend a noble heart Thy arm may do thee justice. (draws his sword) Here is mine. Behold: it is the privilege of mine honors, My oath, and my profession. I protest Maugre thy strength, youth, place, and eminence, Despite thy victor sword and fire-new fortune, Thy valor and thy heartthou art a traitor, False to thy gods, thy brother, and thy father, Conspirant 'gainst this high illustrious prince, And from th' extremest upward of thy head To the descent and dust below thy foot A most toad-spotted traitor. Say thou No, This sword, this arm, and my best spirits are bent To prove upon thy heart, whereto I speak, Thou liest.
- Edgar's speech to Edmund before they duel:
- Edgar in general is practically a walking talking CMOA throughout the play. To put it simply, despite being implied to not be half as sneaky or skilled at fighting as Edmund is, he manages to successfully evade capture after Edmund betrays him by working out that if he pretends to be a homeless madman then people will leave him alone, while in disguise he is found by Lear, Kent, the Fool and Gloucester and tries to offer what comfort he can to the King while still avoiding being recognised by his own father, he later finds his father blinded and suicidal and (repeatedly) talks him out of committing suicide and generally protects him, kills Oswald and thus intercepts the letter detailing Goneril's plan to kill Albany in order to marry Edmund, delivers said letter to Albany and promises to return to challenge Edmund. Which he does. And wins, as well as telling Edmund (in what in some productions is played as a Break Them by Talking speech and the final straw in convincing Edmund to try and undo his order to kill Lear and Cordelia) that their father died after hearing everything Edgar was put through because of Edmund's actions. It's heavily implied that he along with Albany will end up in charge of much of the kingdom after the end.
- The scene with the First Servant. A nameless servant of Cornwall watches his master gouge out Gloucester's eyes, and draws his sword, shouting:Hold your hand, my lord!
I have served you ever since I was a child,
But better service have I never done you
Than now to bid you hold.
- He then duels his master and fatally wounds him, dying only when Regan stabs him in the back. This was a completely nondescript background character, defeating and killing one of the villains for no reason other than a sense of right and wrong that most of the play's named characters lack. In fact, C. S. Lewis considered him the most heroic character in the whole play.In King Lear (III:vii) there is a man who is such a minor character that Shakespeare has not given him even a name: he is merely First Servant. All the characters around him Regan, Cornwall, and Edmund have fine, long term plans. They think they know how the story is going to end, and they are quite wrong. The servant has no such delusions. He has no notion how the play is going to go. But he understands the present scene. He sees an abomination (the blinding of old Gloucester) taking place. He will not stand it. His sword is out and pointed as his masters breast in a moment: then Regan stabs him dead from behind. That is his whole part: eight lines all told. But if it were real life and not a play, that is the part it would be best to have acted.
- He then duels his master and fatally wounds him, dying only when Regan stabs him in the back. This was a completely nondescript background character, defeating and killing one of the villains for no reason other than a sense of right and wrong that most of the play's named characters lack. In fact, C. S. Lewis considered him the most heroic character in the whole play.
- Kent's absolute evisceration of Oswald in 2.2.Oswald: What dost thou know me for?
Kent: A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson, glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest the least syllable of thy addition.
Oswald: Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail on one that is neither known of thee nor knows thee!
Kent: What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, to deny thou knowest me! Is it two days ago since I tripped up thy heels, and beat thee before the king? Draw, you rogue: for, though it be night, yet the moon shines; I'll make a sop o' the moonshine of you: draw, you whoreson cullionly barber-monger, draw.
Kent: Thou whoreson zed! thou unnecessary letter! My lord, if you will give me leave, I will tread this unbolted villain into mortar, and daub the wall of a jakes with him. Spare my gray beard, you wagtail?
- And let's not forget slightly later:
- Edmund's soliloquy in Act 1, Scene 2, proof that the Badass Boast is Older Than Television:Thou, nature, 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 am some twelve or fourteen moon-shines Lag of a brother? Why bastard? wherefore base? When my dimensions are as well compact, My mind as generous, and my shape as true, As honest madam's issue? Why brand they us With base? with baseness? bastardy? base, base? Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take More composition and fierce quality Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed, Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops, Got 'tween asleep and wake? Well, then, Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land: Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund As to the legitimate: fine word,—legitimate! Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed, And my invention thrive, Edmund the base Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper: Now, gods, stand up for bastards!
- Albany reading Goneril the riot act in the final scene. His previous attempts at standing up to her just resulted in her laughing at him. Here he produces the very letter she wrote to Edmund telling him to murder Albany so that they could marry. Telling her to "read thine own evil" results in a Villainous Breakdown from her.
- An Offscreen Moment of Awesome is Cordelia leading the entire French army by herself to invade England.
Awesome / King Lear