King Lear characters/ quotes

King Lear Lear, a King of Britain, learns about the true meaning of love and loyalty as he prepares to divide his kingdom between his three daughters, Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia. The anguish caused by petiness of his two eldest girls drive thim to madness, as he realizes much too late the values of his youngest child’s love. Lear’s basic flaw at the beginning of the play is that he values appearances above reality.
Goneril Lear’s Eldest daughter; clever and personification of evil
Regan Lear’s middle daughter and the wife of the duke of Cornwall. Regan is as ruthless as Goneril and as aggressive in all the same ways. In fact, it is difficult to think of any quality that distinguishes her from her sister. When they are not egging each other on to further acts of cruelty, they jealously compete for the same man, Edmund.
Gloucester His fate is in many ways parallel to that of Lear: he misjudges which of his children to trust. He appears weak and ineffectual in the early acts, when he is unable to prevent Lear from being turned out of his own house, but he later demonstrates that he is also capable of great bravery.
Edmund “I pant for life. Some good I mean to do despite of mine own nature” “intelligence is given where you are hid, you have now the good advantage…” “which of them shall i take, one both neither? netiher can be enjoyed if both are alive”
Edmund Gloucester’s younger, illegitimate son. Edmund resents his status as a bastard and schemes to usurp Gloucester’s title and possessions from Edgar. He is a formidable character, succeeding in almost all of his schemes and wreaking destruction upon virtually all of the characters
Cordelia Lear’s youngest daughter, disowned by her father for refusing to flatter him. Cordelia is held in extremely high regard by all of the good characters in the play—the king of France marries her for her virtue alone, overlooking her lack of dowry. She remains loyal to Lear despite his cruelty toward her, forgives him, and displays a mild and forbearing temperament even toward her evil sisters, Goneril and Regan. Despite her obvious virtues, Cordelia’s reticence makes her motivations difficult to read, as in her refusal to declare her love for her father at the beginning of the play.
Duke of France truly loves Cordelia, says she is the dowry
Duke of Burgundy didn’t want Cordelia once she lost her dowry
Duke of Albany the husband of Lear’s daughter Goneril. Albany is good at heart, and he eventually denounces and opposes the cruelty of Goneril, Regan, and Cornwall. Yet he is indecisive and lacks foresight, realizing the evil of his allies quite late in the play
Duke of Cornwall The husband of Lear’s daughter Regan. Unlike Albany, Cornwall is domineering, cruel, and violent, and he works with his wife and sister-in-law Goneril to persecute Lear and Gloucester.
Fool Lear’s jester, who uses double-talk and seemingly frivolous songs to give Lear important advice.
Kent aka caius, A nobleman of the same rank as Gloucester who is loyal to King Lear. Kent spends most of the play disguised as a peasant, calling himself “Caius,” so that he can continue to serve Lear even after Lear banishes him. He is extremely loyal, but he gets himself into trouble throughout the play by being extremely blunt and outspoken.
King Lear quote nothing is made from nothing; the bow is bent and drawn make from the shaft; come not between and dragon and its wrath
Goneril quote O, sir, to willful men the injuries that they themselves procure must be their school masters. shut up your doors
Regan quote He is old , shallowly knows himself; let his smell lead him to dover, they are stupid for not killing him and leaving him alive and blind
Gloucester quote “we are like flies to the gods killed for sport”;The quality of nothing hath not such need to hide itself. Let’s see. come, if it be nothing, i shall not need spectacles.
Edmund “which of them shall i take? one, both neither? both cant be enjoyed when both are living”, “I pant for life. Some good I mean to do despite of mine own nature” “, th’hast spoken right. tis true. the wheel has come full circle, I am here.
Cordelia “Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave my heart into my mouth.” you two are the jewels of our father, with washd eyes i leave you
Edmund delivers this soliloquy just before he tricks his father, Gloucester, into believing that Gloucester’s legitimate son, Edgar, is plotting against Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law My services are bound. Wherefore should I Stand in the plague of custom, and permit The curiosity of nations to deprive me, For that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshines Lag of a brother? Why bastard? wherefore base? … Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land. Our father’s love is to the bastard Edmund As to the legitimate. Fine word—”legitimate”! Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed, And my invention thrive, Edmund the base Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper. Now, gods, stand up for bastards!
Lear delivers these lines after he has been driven to the end of his rope by the cruelties of Goneril and Regan O, reason not the need! Our basest beggars Are in the poorest thing superfluous. Allow not nature more than nature needs, Man’s life’s as cheap as beast’s . . . … You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need! … If it be you that stir these daughters’ hearts Against their father, fool me not so much To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger, And let not women’s weapons, water-drops, Stain my man’s cheeks! No, you unnatural hags, … No, I’ll not weep. I have full cause of weeping, but this heart Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws, Or ere I’ll weep. O fool, I shall go mad!

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