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

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

She knows how to play the court games and speak as her father requires when he asks for avowals of love, and is rewarded for this ability with a third of the kingdom, which becomes half when her younger sister Cordelia fails the test. Despite her flattery, she does not have any great opinion of her father. She likes Gloucester—or perhaps she only pretends to, as she is quick to join in his interrogation and torture. She is well-matched to her cold-hearted husband Cornwall, though she is even crueler than he is, intensifying the punishment he orders on the disguised Kent and encouraging Cornwall to pull out Gloucester’s second eye. She is quick to point out to Lear that he is old, and sees no reason to go out of her way to serve him, using cold logic to prove that he needs no followers. Her first instinct is to hang Gloucester when he betrays them, but she eagerly joins in tormenting him, treating him with no respect and informing him that his beloved Edmund was the one who betrayed him. She has the backbone to kill a servant who attacks her husband. She regrets having let Gloucester go, and arranges to have him killed, while at the same time planning to marry Edmund now that Cornwall is dead. She does her best to keep Edmund and Goneril away from each other by insisting that her sister stay with her, with the unfortunate effect of giving Goneril an opportunity of poisoning her. She openly claims Edmund for her husband on the field of victory, but too late, and discovers that he has been double-crossing her with her sister.

 

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