Lear is used to enjoying absolute power and to being flattered, and he does not respond well to being contradicted or challenged. At the beginning of the play, his values are notably hollow—he prioritizes the appearance of love over actual devotion and wishes to maintain the power of a king while unburdening himself of the responsibility. Nevertheless, he inspires loyalty in subjects such as Gloucester, Kent, Cordelia, and Edgar, all of whom risk their lives for him.
Act I[ edit ] King Lear of Britain, elderly and wanting to retire from the duties of the monarchy, decides to divide his realm among his three daughters, and declares he will offer the largest share to the one who loves him most. The eldest, Gonerilspeaks first, declaring her love for her father in fulsome terms.
Moved by her flattery Lear proceeds to grant to Goneril her share as soon as she has finished her declaration, before Regan and Cordelia have a chance to speak. He then awards to Regan her share as soon as she has spoken.
When it is finally the turn of his youngest and favourite daughter, Cordelia, at first she refuses to say anything "Nothing, my Lord" and then declares there is nothing to compare her love to, nor words to properly express it; she speaks honestly but bluntly, that she loves him according to her bond, no more and no less.
Infuriated, Lear disinherits Cordelia and divides her share between her elder sisters. The Earl of Gloucester and the Earl of Kent observe that, by dividing his realm between Goneril and Regan, Lear has awarded his realm in equal shares to the peerages of the Duke of Albany Goneril's husband and the Duke of Cornwall Regan's husband.
Kent objects to Lear's unfair treatment of Cordelia; enraged by Kent's protests, Lear banishes him from the country. Lear then summons the Duke of Burgundy and the King of France, who have both proposed marriage to Cordelia.
Learning that Cordelia has been disinherited, the Duke of Burgundy withdraws his suit, but the King of France is impressed by her honesty and marries her nonetheless.
The King of France is shocked by Lear's decision because up until this time Lear has only praised and favoured Cordelia " He reserves to himself a retinue of one hundred knightsto be supported by his daughters.
Goneril and Regan speak privately, revealing that their declarations of love were fake, and that they view Lear as a foolish old man. Gloucester's bastard son Edmund resents his illegitimate status, and plots to dispose of his legitimate older brother Edgar. He tricks his father with a forged letter, making him think that Edgar plans to usurp the estate.
Kent returns from exile in disguise calling himself Caiusand Lear hires him as a servant.
Lear discovers that now that Goneril has power, she no longer respects him. She orders him to reduce the number of his disorderly retinue. Enraged, Lear departs for Regan's home. The Fool reproaches Lear with his foolishness in giving everything to Regan and Goneril, and predicts that Regan will treat him no better.
Act II[ edit ] Edmund learns from Curan, a courtier, that there is likely to be war between Albany and Cornwall, and that Regan and Cornwall are to arrive at Gloucester's house that evening.
Taking advantage of the arrival of the duke and Regan, Edmund fakes an attack by Edgar, and Gloucester is completely taken in.
He disinherits Edgar and proclaims him an outlaw. Bearing Lear's message to Regan, Kent meets Oswald again at Gloucester's home, quarrels with him again, and is put in the stocks by Regan and her husband Cornwall. When Lear arrives, he objects to the mistreatment of his messenger, but Regan is as dismissive of her father as Goneril was.
Lear is enraged but impotent. Goneril arrives and supports Regan's argument against him.
Lear yields completely to his rage. He rushes out into a storm to rant against his ungrateful daughters, accompanied by the mocking Fool. Kent later follows to protect him. Gloucester protests against Lear's mistreatment. With Lear's retinue of a hundred knights dissolved, the only companions he has left are his Fool and Kent.
Wandering on the heath after the storm, Edgar, in the guise of a madman named Tom o' Bedlammeets Lear. Edgar babbles madly while Lear denounces his daughters. Kent leads them all to shelter.
He reveals evidence that his father knows of an impending French invasion designed to reinstate Lear to the throne; and in fact a French army has landed in Britain.+ free ebooks online. Did you know that you can help us produce ebooks by proof-reading just one page a day?
Go to: Distributed Proofreaders. The Character Development Of King Lear - For this paper, I will address the themes of pride and humility in the character development of King Lear. Using a close analysis of the characters’ traits, actions and language, Carol Atherton considers how Shakespeare presents Goneril, Regan and Edmund as the villains of King Lear.
King Lear is, at its heart, a play about the relationships between two powerful men – King Lear and the Earl of. Edmund or Edmond is a fictional character and the main antagonist in William Shakespeare's King torosgazete.com is the illegitimate son of the Earl of Gloucester, and the younger brother of Edgar, the Earl's legitimate torosgazete.com on in the play, Edmund resolves to get rid of his brother, then his father, and become Earl in his own right.
Edgar, the banished son of Gloucester and brother to the villain Edmund, is the primary character in the sub-plot of King Lear.
The dutiful Edgar is much like Cordelia and suffers throughout the play due to his father's transgressions. King Lear is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare.
Analysis and criticism of King Lear over the centuries has been extensive. Edmund Kean played King Lear with its tragic ending in , but failed and reverted to .