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Shakespeare’s King Lear

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Shakespeare’s King Lear - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Shakespeare’s King Lear. Cast of Characters. Earl of Kent. King Lear. Fool. Goneril. Regan. Cordelia. m arried to. courted by. m arried to. Duke of Albany. Duke of Cornwall. King of France & Duke of Burgundy. Cast of Characters (cont.). Earl of Gloucester. Edgar, the eldest son.

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cast of characters
Cast of Characters

Earl of Kent

King Lear





married to

courted by

married to

Duke of Albany

Duke of Cornwall

King of France &

Duke of Burgundy

cast of characters cont
Cast of Characters (cont.)

Earl of Gloucester

Edgar, the eldest son

Edmund, the illegitimate son

background information
Background Information
  • Believed to have been written between 1603 and 1606
  • Considered one of his greatest works
  • Ranked as one of the greatest tragedies along with Hamlet
  • Based off the legend of Leir of Britain
    • Found in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s HistoriaRegumBritanniae
  • Shakespeare also found inspiration for King Lear as well as Macbeth from Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland
  • Consists of two parallel storylines
    • One focuses on the relationship with Lear and his daughters
    • The other focuses on the relationship between Gloucester and his sons
      • The Gloucester plotline is based off a story found in Sidney’s The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia
brief synopsis
Brief Synopsis
  • Lear, who is old, wishes to retire from power. Not having a male heir, he decides to divide his realm between his three daughters. To determine who will receive the largest portion of the kingdom, Lear decides to hold a contest to see which of his daughters loves him the most. Goneril and Regan each profess that they love their father with all their heart. Cordelia, however, speaks plainly and truthfully. This upsets Lear and he banishes her from the kingdom. When the Earl of Kent tries to persuade Lear not to banish Cordelia, Lear banishes him as well. Impressed with Cordelia’s honesty, the King of France decides to marry her. Lear proclaims that he and his court jester, the Fool, will live alternately between Goneril and Regan at their respective houses. Goneril and Regan, however, privately agree that their father is foolish for banishing the only daughter of his to actually love him.
synopsis cont
Synopsis (cont.)
  • Edmund resents his status as the illegitimate child, and plans to usurp his brother, Edgar’s, inheritance. He tricks their father, Gloucester, into believing that Edgar is the one who wants to usurp the estate. Enraged by his son’s “trickery,” Gloucester disinherits Edgar and kicks him out. Meanwhile, Kent has stolen back into the kingdom under the guise of a man named Caius, who Lear hires as a servant.