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William Shakespeare's Tragedies: King Lear



King Lear is a story about an old king wanting to retire from his position and live a peaceful life and instead descends into state of madness after he divides his property between two of his daughters.

After his retirement, Lear wants to distribute the kingdom between his three daughters Goneril, Regan and Cordelia based on how much they prove their love towards him. Accordingly the one who loves him the most will get the largest share. The older two daughters, Goneril and Regan, in order to get the larger share lie to him that they love him a lot.

Cordelia, the third daughter however does not play along and simply tells him that she cannot express her love in words. Unhappy by her lack of effort to impress him, Lear does not give her any share in his property. When his true friend, Kent makes an attempt to intervene, he is banished from the kingdom. Impressed by Cordelia's honesty, King of France marries her.

King Lear then declares to his two daughters that he would stay with them for one month. For the first month Lear stayed with his eldest daughter Goneril and her husband, the Duke of Albany. Within days Goneril is tired of taking care of her old father and sends him to her sister, Regan's house. She too gets tired of looking after him and asks him to stay at Earl of Gloucester's castle.

Lear soon realizes that his two daughters are only interested in taking away his knights. He then understands that his youngest daughter was the one who truly loved and respected him. However the treatment meted out to him by his daughters and the harsh reality of life soon drives him towards madness. His friend Kent looks after him.

After hearing that her father has been ill treated, Cordelia along with her troop leave for England to fight against her sisters and their husbands. Cordelia is reunited with her father because of Kent's help. During the battle Cordelia and her father are caught and imprisoned with the intention of killing them. Goneril's husband blames her for committing treason. Outraged by this, Goneril plans to oust Albany once the battle is over.

Thus, everyone plants and plots against one another in an effort to be victory. The story has a tragic end when Regan is first poisoned by Goneril, who then stabs herself. Cordelia is killed in her cell and her father is shown carrying her dead body. Eventually even Lear succumbs to this loss.



   
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