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.
This leads to his quarreling with the disguised Kent, who treats Oswald with even less respect than the steward does the King. Goneril sends him with a message to Regan warning her of Lear’s temper. On arrival, he is insulted to the point of a fight by Kent despite his acting in a perfectly polite manner. Fully Goneril’s man, he grows worried when Albany appears to be tending more to Lear than to his wife. An opportunist, he accepts to carry a letter for Regan to Edmund, and pledges to kill Gloucester should he come across him on his way. Finding Gloucester, he is delighted, but has to find the disguised Edgar and is beaten. Dying, he begs Edgar to bury him and bring the letters to Edmund, thereby setting the latter up for his fall. He finds that his death comes far too soon.