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King Lear Characters

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. 

He knows the royal family well and has the measure of all its members. His loyalty is of the bravest kind: where others might think blind obedience to be the definition of faithfulness, Kent speaks up whenever he sees Lear acting in a way that will do him no good. He is horrified at the King’s treatment of Cordelia, and tells Lear what he thinks to the King’s face, despite all threats. When he is banished for this, he again shows the measure of his loyalty, preferring to risk death by disguising himself and continuing to serve his master rather than obey the order to live in exile. Under the name Caius, speaking in a different accent from his normal one, he becomes Lear’s servant, as whom he continually provokes the servants of Lear’s daughters, thereby pushing things so far that Lear cannot help but see what how far he has fallen. Losing sight of Lear when the latter rushes out into the storm, Kent sends news to Cordelia of the state of things, and goes to seek the King. He soon realizes that Lear has completely lost his mind and goes to the French camp to inform them of this and help them find him. He comes across Gloucester and Edgar just as his blinded fellow Earl dies, and is overcome with grief at the combination of this and Lear’s tragedy, to the extent that Edgar fears for his life. His loyalty and pity for Lear lead him to beg the others to not attempt to save the King’s life, though the deaths of Lear and Cordelia leave him so stricken that he is convinced it is time for him to die, as ever following and serving his King.


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