PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource

King Lear Characters

Lear, King of Britain

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. 

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King of France

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

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Duke of Burgundy

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

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Duke of Cornwall

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. 

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Duke of Albany

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. 

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Earl of Kent

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. 

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Edmund

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. 

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Curan

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

Oswald

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. 

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Old Man

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

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Herald

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

First Messenger

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

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Second Messenger

The Second Messenger announces Edmund’s death.

French Messenger

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

Second Servant

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. 

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Third Servant

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

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Cordelia

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. 

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First Gentleman

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

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Second Gentleman

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

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First Captain

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

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Second Captain

The Second Captain commands the herald to sound his trumpet.

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