King Lear is one of the tragic plays written by William Shakespeare. The play revolves around the king, Lear, who realizes the true value of love. The life experiences and his pathway to desperate situation are brought down by his own decisions.
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William Shakespeare was one of the greatest writers in English language. He is an English playwright, poet, and actor. He is often regarded as England’s national poet. Some of his tragic plays include Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth.
The story of King Lear starts in Britain, where the king is pleased to display his royal belongings to his daughters. He decides to question his three daughters, – Goneril, Regan and Cordelia. He declares to offer the greatest share to the daughter whom loves him the most. His love for the youngest daughter, Cordelia, was the greatest and he wished her to get the larger part of the kingdom. However, Cordelia was honest to her heart, holding true love for her father.
When asked to profess love for their father, Goneril and Regan are deceiving and flatter him with the words. However, Cordelia provides a blunt but honest response. Unlike her sisters, she refuses to engage in fulsome terms to describe her father. She simply replies, nothing, I love you the way a daughter should. This simple reply infuriates King Lear, and he goes to the extent of disinheriting her. When the Earl of Kent objects the act, he is also expelled out of the kingdom.
Cordelia had two suitors beforehand – Duke of Burgundy and the King of France. However, after the disinheritance, Duke of Burgundy refuses to marry her but the King of France sees her honesty and marries. While Cordelia moves to France with her husband, Kent remains to protect King Lear by disguising himself as a servant.
On the other hand, Goneril and Regan view their father as a foolish old man and refuse to treat him fairly. He understands the sister’s conspiracy of killing him. However, the Earl of Gloucester arrives at the place to warn Kent of the impending murder. They try to flee to Dover for protection. However, Cornwall, Regan’s husband, attacks Gloucester in his eyes, and consequently, Gloucester’s servant gives a fatal blow on Cornwall.
Meanwhile, Cordelia arrives at Dover with an army of French troops to save her father. The troops of Regan and Goneril get ready for the fight at Dover. Knowing about Cordelia’s army, Kent, Lear, and Gloucester head to Dover. Gloucester finds his lost son, Edgar, on the way. In the battle, Cordelia is defeated and sentenced for death.
Meanwhile, the evil intensions of the sisters pave way for their fate as well. Both the sisters fall in love with Gloucester’s conniving son, Edmund. Edmund was the one who gave the execution order for Cordelia. For the sake of her love for Edmund, Goneril poisons Regan. However, she later discovers that Edmund is fatally wounded by Edgar. In despair, she kills herself.
Finally, Edmund dies and repents to cancel the order against Cordelia’s execution but she is hanged beforehand. Lear comes to the scene, carrying the mortal remains of Cordelia in his arms. Filled with grief, he dies over his daughter. Kent also thrusts himself with a sword and dies near to his master. Edgar, the noble son of Gloucester becomes the ruler.