• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

A Brief Summary of King Lear - I, II, III, IV

Extracts from this document...


A Brief Summary of King Lear - I, II, III, IV The play opens with King Lear deciding how to retire his throne. He decides to divide his land up among his three daughters. Whichever daughter can lavish him with the most praise and prove they love him most, will get the best land. Regan and Goneril are the first to profess their love to their father. Lear is gratified and grants each a healthy portion of land. He saves the last, but best portion of land for his youngest and favorite daughter, Cordelia. Cordelia, unfortunately, is unwilling to lie to her father. She will not allow herself to behave in the way her sisters did. She simply states that she loves Lear as much as any daughter should, no more, no less. The furious Lear attempts to persuade Cordelia to reconsider her answer, but after unsuccessfully doing so, rashly decides to bestow no land on her and essentially banishes her from his site. One of Cordelia's suitors, The Duke of Burgundy, loses all interest in the powerless daughter. The King of France recognizes Cordelia's virtues and takes her even without any land. The loyal Kent attempts to change Lear's mind with blunt honesty, but is banished for contradicting Lear's proclamation. Lear is going to live with his eldest daughters, yet still keep the title "King." ...read more.


Elsewhere, The Duke of Cornwall and Regan arrive at Gloucester's castle. They praise Edmund for helping his father and identifying Edgar as a villain. Cornwall gives Edmund a noble position under him for his deeds. Kent arrives, harshly criticizes Oswald, and tries to kill him. Cornwall and Regan place Kent in the stocks for accusing Oswald of evil deeds. When Lear finally arrives he is incredulous to find that his man has been placed in the stocks. Lear learns who put Kent there and boldly demands Gloucester to fetch Regan so that he may have a word with her. Regan purposefully denies Lear an audience and after a great delay she arrives. The two get into an argument during which Regan lets Lear know she will not take him in unless he reduce the quantity of his knights. She also demands that he apologize to Goneril for disrespecting her. In a cruel turn of events, Goneril shows up and embraces her sister. The two have made it known that Lear will have no authority for the duration of his life. Lear angrily sets off into a brewing storm, followed loyally by Kent and The Fool. Part III Lear makes a vivid speech about his current situation and begins to show signs of losing his sanity. ...read more.


Cordelia, who is apparently in town via her husband's invasion of England, discovers Lear. She takes him into her care, and when Lear awakes, he believes he has benefited from a miracle. This is a touching scene where Lear attempts to regain his sanity. The Duke of Albany, being a good man, learns of what has happened and vehemently condemns Goneril. This leaves Goneril free to lust after her new love, Edmund. With Cornwall's death, Edmund is appointed to the head of British forces. Of course, since her husband has died, Regan competes with her sister for Edmund's love. Due to his honor and loyalty to Britain, Albany helps Edmund in the fight against France. When France loses, Cordelia and Lear are taken prisoner by Edmund. They are secretly sentenced to death. The two sisters continue their betrayal and turn on each other. Regan is poisoned by Goneril. When her disgusting intentions are made known, Goneril commits suicide. Edgar allows Gloucester to know his true identity and his father dies of a broken heart. Edgar then informs The Duke of Albany of Edmund's grievous acts and he is arrested for his crimes. Next, Edgar formally challenges Edmund to a duel. Edmund loses and is mortally wounded. At this point, Edmund undergoes a transition and become remorseful before his death. He tells of his order to execute Lear and Cordelia. He is too late. Cordelia is executed and Lear dies trying to revive her. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE King Lear section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE King Lear essays

  1. King lear

    away the faults that he has committed so he can start from scratch. "... Off you lendings." These two scenes are dramatic and support the theme of madness, because the audience can relate to the thoughts the character Lear is having.

  2. 'Explore the ways in which Shakespeare Creates sympathy for Lear in the play 'King ...

    at the end of the play as this helps Lear see himself as a man and not a king, as when he saw himself as a king his self view was clouded by his status and representational clothes. Shakespeare try's to show how tightly clothes were linked to status at the time.

  1. How Does Lear change throughout the play?

    He finally respects others. This is a new feature for Lear. I believe that Lear has a new way of thinking as he sympathizes for others and puts himself in other people's position to get an idea of what their life is like.

  2. Fool's language tricks

    irrelevancies probably makes a confusion in minds of those to whom were directed and thereby distracts their attention. Another useful trick which helps the Fool appease Lear's anger is as Leslie Hotson calls it in her book 'Shakespeare's Motley' - 'mad fooling'.

  1. I am a man more sinned against than sinning King Lear was written ...

    'It is the cowish terror of his spirit That dares not undertake' 'This kiss, if it durst speak, Would stretch thy spirits into the air. The audience now realises that Cornwall is dead from the fatal fight with the servant.

  2. king lear plot summary

    Edmund informs Gloucester of Edgar's plan to kill him and falls for it. Edmund manipulates Edgar, leading him to solitude where he disguises his identity.

  1. Character Analyses - King Lear

    Goneril's expressions of love are extreme and reveal the inherent dishonesty of her nature. Goneril reveals her true character when she defies the hierarchy of nature, which calls for daughters to respect and honor their fathers, and lays the groundwork for the torment she will set in motion for the remainder of her father's life.

  2. An Analysis of the Role of Comedy in Shakespeares Great Tragedy King Lear

    This shows the bathos of tragedy, how wretchedly absurd someone?s behaviour can be in the midst of extreme suffering. Many people find the sight of someone falling flat on his face hilarious, as it is the very stuff of slapstick comedy.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work