William Shakespeare's King Lear teaches the lesson to never believe everything you hear.
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King Lear

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King Lear Play

King Lear begins with King Lear of England, handing over his kingdom to daughters Regan and Goneril whom he believes truly love him. He intends to stay with each daughter consecutively, accompanied by one hundred loyal knights. Angry that Cordelia, his youngest daughter does not appear to love him as much as Goneril and Regan, Lear banishes her and Kent, the servant who tried to defend her. Cordelia is taken by the King of France as his Queen... Edmund, the trusted but illegitimate son of the Earl of Gloucester, plots against brother Edgar. Things quickly go bad for Lear, Goneril conspiring to have him driven out of her house. Kent, disguised so he can still serve King Lear, earns his respect by defending him. Goneril offends her father, dismissing fifty of his knights. Lear starts to realise Cordelia was not so bad after all... He decides to leave Goneril for Regan... Edmund tricks Gloucester into believing Edgar wanted to kill him, Edgar going into hiding... Kent and Goneril's steward, Oswald fight, Kent being punished, emphasizing how little Lear's name is respected by Regan and Goneril...

Lear tells Regan how much Goneril hurt him, Regan allowing Lear to stay but without one follower; he decides to stay with neither daughter... Kent keeps Cordelia informed of her father's plight... Lear braves the elements against a storm... Gloucester tells Edmund the French will soon invade. Lear is brought out of the storm, where he explains the physical torment distracted him from the pain his daughters have brought him. Edmund talks to the Duke of Cornwall (Regan's husband), implicating Gloucester as a traitor. Edmund is rewarded with his father's title. Cornwall tells Edmund to find Gloucester...

Iin a farmhouse, Lear, showing signs of madness, holds a mock trial to punish his daughters, addressing two stools as if they were Regan and Goneril. Gloucester is captured and blinded. Disgusted by Cornwall's brutality, a servant wounds Cornwall... Gloucester now blind, realises his mistakes, especially about Edgar. Gloucester meets "poor Tom" not realising it is Edgar in disguise. Edgar leads his father to the cliffs of Dover where his father wishes to commit suicide. The Duke of Albany renounces his wife Goneril, realising her evil... Cornwall dies. The rivalry between Regan and Goneril for Edmund intensifies... Cordelia sends men to find her father... With the battle about to begin, Albany switches sides again, supporting Goneril and Regan but only to fight an invading power. Regan worries more about her sister's intentions for Edmund than the battle...

Edgar leads his father to the cliffs of Dover, tricking him that he survived the fall. Edgar kills Oswald, Oswald's letter from Goneril revealing she wanted Edmund to kill Albany so they could marry. Cordelia finds her father who deeply regrets his actions... Regan and Goneril try to make Edmund choose between them... Cordelia's forces lose to Goneril and Regan, Cordelia and Lear being taken prisoner. Albany turns on Goneril and Regan. Edgar mortally wounds Edmund. Goneril kills herself and poisons Regan. Poor Tom (Edgar) reveals his true identity to Gloucester who dies unable to take both grief and joy. Albany and the dying Edmund try to save Lear and Cordelia from being hanged but are too late... Lear howls with pain at the loss of Cordelia. Kent is finally recognised for his loyalty by Lear who, unable to take further pain, dies. Albany is left to restore order...

Contents

Dramatis Personæ

Act I
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV, Scene V

Act II
Scene I,
Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV

Act III
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV, Scene V, Scene VI, Scene VII

Act IV
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV, Scene V, Scene VI, Scene VII

Act V
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III

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