King Lear abdicates the British throne, to divide his kingdom among his three daughters in proportion to their professed love of him. His plan misfires when Cordelia, his youngest and favourite daughter, refuses to flatter her father; she is disinherited and banished.
King Lear is widely held as the greatest of Shakespeare’s tragedies; to some, it is the greatest play ever written.
It is believed to have been written between 1603 and 1606. This play was first performed on December 26th 1606.
King Lear descends into madness after wrongly distributing his estate on the strength of flattery. The play is based on the legend of Leir of Britain, a mythological pre-Roman Celtic king.
It has been widely adapted for stage and screen, with the part of Lear played by many of the world's most accomplished actors.
King Lear wants to retire from power. He decides to divide his realm among his three daughters, and offers the largest share to the one who loves him best.
Goneril and Regan both proclaim in fulsome terms that they love him more than anything in the world, which pleases him. Cordelia speaks temperately, honestly but bluntly which annoys him.
In his anger he disinherits her, and divides the kingdom between the other two. Kent objects to this unfair treatment.
King Lear is further enraged by Kent's protests, and banishes him from the country.
Cordelia's two suitors enter into scene. Learning that she is disinherited, the Duke of Burgundy withdraws his suit, but the King of France is impressed by her honesty and marries her anyway.
Since the 19th century, "King Lear" has been regarded as one of Shakespeare's supreme achievements. The play is particularly noted for its probing observations on the nature of human suffering and kinship.
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