Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land.
Our father’s love is to the bastard Edmund
As to th’ legitimate. Fine word, "legitimate."
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top th’ legitimate. I grow, I prosper.

– William Shakespeare

King Lear, Act 1, Scene 2. The Machiavellian Edmund has a lot in common with Lear’s villainous daughters Goneril and Regan – the capacity for duplicity! While the sisters fool Lear with deceptive expressions of love, Edmund forges a letter to trick his father the Earl of Gloucester and falsely accuse his innocent abrother Edgar. Edmund notes that his father loves him as much as his legitimate son, but he is unhappy that as a bastard he stands to inherit nothing. However, Edmund pledges that through his scheme to discredit his brother he will enjoy prosperity, triumph over the honest Edgar and take his inheritance. Edmund feels no loyalty to his family and believes he is entitled to the Gloucester wealth and title.