Duke of Cornwall
Cornwall is Regan's brutal husband, vicious and savage when thwarted in his efforts to seize ambition. Cornwall's easy acceptance of Edmund's story and his welcoming of Edmund into his clique foreshadows the evil that will later emerge from Cornwall and provides a hint to the audience that Cornwall is not what he appears. Cornwall responds to Kent's truthful declarations by placing Kent in the stocks. This action indicates that Cornwall, who himself uses artifice as a substitute for honesty in his own speech, cannot recognize truth when he hears it. Later in the play, Cornwall will make no attempt to control his actions or behave in a civilized manner as he gouges out Gloucester's eyes and grinds them under the heel of his boot.