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.
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.
Read an in-depth analysis of King Lear. Cordelia is held in extremely high regard by all of the good characters in the play—the king of France marries her for her virtue alone, overlooking her lack of dowry. She remains loyal to Lear despite his cruelty toward her, forgives him, and displays a mild and forbearing temperament even toward her evil sisters, Goneril and Regan.
Read an in-depth analysis of Cordelia. Goneril is jealous, treacherous, and amoral. Read an in-depth analysis of Goneril. Regan is as ruthless as Goneril and as aggressive in all the same ways.
In fact, it is difficult to think of any quality that distinguishes her from her sister.
When they are not egging each other on to further acts of cruelty, they jealously compete for the same man, Edmund. Read an in-depth analysis of Regan. The first thing we learn about Gloucester is that he is an adulterer, having fathered a bastard son, Edmund. His fate is in many ways parallel to that of Lear: He appears weak and ineffectual in the early acts, when he is unable to prevent Lear from being turned out of his own house, but he later demonstrates that he is also capable of great bravery.
He is a formidable character, succeeding in almost all of his schemes and wreaking destruction upon virtually all of the other characters. Read an in-depth analysis of Edmund.
He is extremely loyal, but he gets himself into trouble throughout the play by being extremely blunt and outspoken. Albany is good at heart, and he eventually denounces and opposes the cruelty of Goneril, Regan, and Cornwall. Yet he is indecisive and lacks foresight, realizing the evil of his allies quite late in the play.
Unlike Albany, Cornwall is domineering, cruel, and violent, and he works with his wife and sister-in-law Goneril to persecute Lear and Gloucester.An analysis by Act and Scene of every important event in King Lear and time compression, from Shakespeare Online.
King Lear King of Britain. Lear is the protagonist whose willingness to believe empty flattery leads to the deaths of many people. Goneril Lear's eldest daughter who, after professing her deep love for her father, betrays him and plots his murder.
Regan Lear's second daughter.
Regan joins forces with Goneril to destroy their father. 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 Gloucester – and their ungrateful children. King Lear. Lear’s basic flaw at the beginning of the play is that he values appearances above reality.
He wants to be treated as a king and to enjoy the title, but he doesn’t want to fulfill a king’s obligations of governing for the good of his subjects. Henry VI, Part 1, often referred to as 1 Henry VI, is a history play by William Shakespeare—possibly in collaboration with Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Nashe—believed to have been written in It is set during the lifetime of King Henry VI of England..
Whereas Henry VI, Part 2 deals with the King's inability to quell the bickering of his nobles and the inevitability of armed conflict. 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.