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.
He is a fairly meek and kindly man, despised by his wife and willing to let her take the lead in most things. He has however unsuspected reserves of strength and a backbone that develops over the course of the play. He neither likes nor agrees with his brother-in-law Cornwall much. He is completely baffled as to why Lear enters in a rage and insists on leaving his house, but despite his wife’s assurances cannot think that the King is entirely to blame in the matter. Later events confirm his suspicions, and he makes his view of Goneril and her sister quite plain. His wife considers him an inveterate moaner rather than a man of action. Though he is on Lear’s side, he is patriot enough that he cannot accept having French forces conquering England, and joins his army with Regan’s to fight Cordelia’s French troops before continuing their dispute. He puts Edmund in his place, reminding him that he is not in fact one of the rulers of the kingdom, despite his commanding role in the battle. On being told of Edmund’s dealings with his wife and sister-in-law, Albany makes plans to be rid of him, letting all of Edmund’s soldiers go so that the bastard is isolated, and pledging to fight Edmund if the mysterious champion does not appear. He does not wish to rule the land, and proposes that Edgar and Kent rule once all is concluded.