King Lear Author:William Shakespeare Old King Lear decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters, allotting each a portion in proportion to the eloquence of her declaration of love. The hypocritical Goneril and Regan make grand pronouncements and are awarded; Cordelia, the youngest, who truly loves Lear, refuses to make an insincere speech to prove her love and so is disi... more »nherited. The two older sisters mock Lear and renege on their promises to support him. Cast out, the king slips into madness and wanders about accompanied by his faithful Fool. He is aided by the Earl of Kent, who, though banished for having supported Cordelia, has remained in Britain disguised as a peasant. Kent brings Lear to Cordelia, who cares for him and helps him regain his reason.
The Earl of Gloucester likewise spurns his honest son, Edgar, and believes his conniving illegitimate son, Edmund. Edmund allies himself with Regan and Goneril to defend Britain against the French army mobilized by Cordelia. He turns his father over to Cornwall -- who gouges out Gloucester's eyes -- then imprisons Cordelia and Lear, but he is defeated in battle by Edgar. Jealous of Edmund's attentions to Regan, Goneril poisons her and commits suicide. Cordelia is hanged. Lear, broken, dies with her body in his arms.« less