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King Lear :: Characters

King Lear Characters

Lear is King of England. Old and tired of the duties of kingship, he decides to retire, and to split his kingdom between his three daughters and their husbands. 

 
 

The King of France has come to England to woo Lear’s remaining unwed daughter, Cordelia. 

 
 

The Duke of Burgundy has come to England to woo Lear’s remaining unwed daughter, Cordelia. 

 
 

Cornwall is the husband of Lear’s second daughter, Regan, and becomes ruler of half of England when Lear passes on the government of the realm to his daughters and their husbands. 

 
 

Albany is the husband of Lear’s eldest daughter, Goneril, and becomes ruler of half of England when Lear passes on the government of the realm to his daughters and their husbands. 

 
 

The Earl of Kent is an old man who has served Lear faithfully for years, and is one of his most loyal subjects and friends. 

 
 

The Earl of Gloucester is an old, white-bearded courtier of Lear’s. 

 
 

Edgar is the Earl of Gloucester’s legitimate son and heir, and Lear’s godson. 

 
 

Edmund is Gloucester’s illegitimate son. Though presently at court, he has been away for nine years, and his father intends him to leave again soon. 

 
 

Curan is an acquaintance of Edmund’s, who has heard rumors that Albany and Cornwall are quarreling and tries to verify them.

 
 

Oswald is Goneril’s steward. A haughty fellow, he is all too willing to obey his mistress’ orders to treat Lear and his men with no respect. 

 
 

The Old Man has been a retainer of the Earl of Gloucester all his life, over eighty years. 

 
 

A Doctor ministers to Lear when he is found and brought to Cordelia’s tent. 

 
 

The Fool is Lear’s jester. 

 
 

A Herald reads out the proclamation that brings Edgar to fight Edmund.

 
 

The First Messenger comes from Gloucester’s house to announce to Albany and Goneril that Cornwall is dead, and Gloucester blinded. 

 
 

The Second Messenger announces Edmund’s death.

 
 

The French Messenger announces to Cordelia that the British army is advancing on her forces.

 
 

The First Servant has been one of Cornwall’s employees since his childhood.

 
 

The Second Servant is horrified at what Cornwall does to Gloucester, and concludes that if he gets away with it there is no justice on earth and one might as well do all that one wishes. 

 
 

The Third Servant is horrified at what happens to Gloucester and particularly at Regan’s role. 

 
 

Goneril is Lear’s eldest daughter, and the wife of the Duke of Albany. 

 
 

Regan is Lear’s second daughter, and the wife of the Duke of Cornwall. 

 
 

Cordelia is Lear’s youngest daughter, and something of a goody-goody. She has always been her father’s favorite, a quiet and obedient girl. 

 
 

A Knight is one of the hundred attending on Lear at Goneril’s house. 

 
 

The First Gentleman in Lear’s train comes to the King to announce that his horses are ready for their departure. 

 
 

The Second Gentleman follows Goneril to keep an eye on her at Albany’s command.

 
 

The First Captain is given orders by Edmund to hang Cordelia and make it look like suicide. 

 
 

The Second Captain commands the herald to sound his trumpet.

 
 
 
 
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