The play opens with the chorus reciting a poem. Then, in the opening dialogue, Shakespeare spices his writing with puns and double-entendres, as when the servants Sampson and Gregory make veiled sexual references: The quarrel is between our masters and us their men.
The king is planning to divide his kingdom among his three daughters. The audience also learns that Gloucester has two sons. The older, Edgar, is his legitimate heir, and the younger, Edmund, is illegitimate; however, Gloucester loves both sons equally.
This information provides the subplot. King Lear enters to a fanfare of trumpets, followed by his two sons-in-law — Albany and Cornwall — and his three daughters — Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia. Lear announces that he has divided his kingdom into three shares to be given to his daughters as determined by their declarations of love for him.
Goneril, as the eldest, speaks first. She tells her father that her love for him is boundless.
Regan, as the middle child, speaks next. But when queried by Lear, Cordelia replies that she loves him as a daughter should love a father, no more and no less. She reminds her father that she also will owe devotion to a husband when she marries, and therefore cannot honestly tender all her love toward her father.
King Lear then divides his kingdom between Goneril and Regan, giving each an equal share. Kent interferes by asking Lear to reconsider his rash action. Lear is not swayed, and in anger, he banishes Kent for defending Cordelia and for confronting the king. They are told that Cordelia will not receive a dowry or inheritance from her father.
The Duke withdraws his suit, because a wife without a dowry is of no use to him. Cordelia bids her sisters farewell, and leaves with the King of France. When Goneril and Regan are left alone, the two sisters reveal their plan to discredit the king.
Analysis The play opens with a scene that introduces most of the primary characters and establishes both the main plot and a subplot. This first scene also is important because it provides the audience with an introduction to the character of Kent before he is banished and before he reappears disguised as Caius in Scene 4.
Although Gloucester loves his illegitimate son Edmund and his legitimate son Edgar equally, Elizabethan society does not regard the two men as equals. Edmund realizes that his chances of a prosperous future are limited because he was born second to Gloucester from an unholy union.
Gloucester relates to Kent that Edmund has been away seeking his fortune, but now he has returned — perhaps believing that he can find his fortune at home.
Initially, Lear appears to be a strong ruler, a monarch who has decided to divide his kingdom. Albany and Cornwall will be in charge of the outlying areas of his kingdom, which have not been easily governed.
Lear plans to place Cordelia, with himself as her guest, in the center section. Lear recognizes that he is growing older and explains his decision to divide his kingdom by saying: At the time Shakespeare penned King Lear, the English had survived years of civil war and division.
But Lear is doing more than creating political and social chaos; he is also giving his daughters complete responsibility for his happiness, and he will blame them later when he is not happy. Lear is depicted as a wise ruler — he has, after all, held the country together successfully for many years.Chapter One Act 1 Scene 1 running scene 1 Enter Kent, Gloucester and Edmund KENT I thought the king had more affected the Duke of Albany than Cornwall.
Summary. The scene opens in King Lear's palace. A conversation between Kent, Gloucester, and Gloucester's son Edmund introduces the play's primary plot: The king is planning to divide his kingdom among his three daughters.
William Shakespeare wrote King Lear, frequently cited as his best tragedy, between and The play tells the story of the titular king, who attempts to divide his kingdom among his three.
King Lear; Act 1 Scene 4 Page 2; King Lear by: William Shakespeare Summary. Plot Overview; Summary & Analysis; Act 1, scenes 1–2; Act 1, scenes 3–5; Sample A+ Essay; How To Cite No Fear King Lear; How to Cite This SparkNote; Table of Contents Act 1 Scene 4.
ACT I SCENE IV: A hall in the same.
[Enter KENT, disguised] KENT: If but as well I other accents borrow, That can my speech defuse, my good intent. King Lear Act II Summary Act 2, scene 1 In Gloucester’s castle, Gloucester’s servant Curan tells Edmund that he has informed Gloucester that the duke of Cornwall and his wife, Regan, are coming to the castle that very night.
Curan also mentions vague rumors about trouble brewing between the duke of Cornwall and the duke of Albany.