King Lear , king of Britain had three daughters – Goneril ,wife of Duke of Albany ; Regan , wife of Duke of Cornwall and Cordelia , the youngest and favourite daughter of King Lear . King Lear was more than eighty, tired of managing the affairs of the state.
He decided to leave the management to younger strength. He decided to distribute the kingdom according to the proportion of their affection for him .The two older daughters gave many flattery speeches to Lear and took their share of kingdom. The youngest daughter Cordelia was disgusted of the flattery speeches of her elder sisters whose heart she knew was far from their lips. Cordelia told her father that she could not promise to love nothing else in the world except her father. To this King Lear gave away the kingdom equally to the two elder sisters and their husbands. He also banished Earl of Kent for speaking in favour of Cordelia and gave him five days time to prepare for his departure. Earl of Kent though banished by the king chose to remain in Britain as he thought he could be a help to the king whenever there is any need. He made himself Caius.
After that Duke of Burgundy and King of France were also called to hear their determination about the youngest daughter. Duke of Burgundy declined but King of France took the young maid by the hand.
As Cordelia was gone, the two sisters started showing their true colours .They refused to obey and respect Lear. Lear was not at all happy. Now Cordelia’s fault also started looking small.
Edmund, son of the Duke of Gloucester was jealous of Edgar, his elder brother.
Being the younger son and illegitimate, he would not inherit Gloucester’s property. So he deceived his father and turned him against Edgar. So the Duke of Gloucester decided to bestow his lands on Edmund.
When Kent informed Cordelia of her father’s condition and the inhumanity of her sisters, she set forth and landed with a royal army at Dover, to subdue the cruel powers of her sisters and restore her father to the throne.
The Earl of Gloucester protested that he could not bear to see the king treated so badly. Enraged, the duke of Cornwall, husband of Regan, cruelly put out his eyes. He tried to commit suicide but was saved by Edgar.
With the help of sleep and medicine, Cordelia and Lear’s physicians restored the king’s sanity, which the cruelty of his older daughters had shaken violently.
Finally Earl of Gloucester had died in grief on seeing King Lear’s condition. Edmund had now become the Earl of Gloucester. When Regan’s husband died, Regan declared her intention to marry Edmund. This made Goneril jealous and she killed Regan by poisoning her. Soon Duke of Albany came to know her crime and got her arrested. In a fit of rage and disappointed love she took her own life too. Edmund arranged to have Cordelia killed. Edmund too died while fighting with Edgar .
Lear was crazed with grief and did not long survive his kind child .Finally; Duke of Albany ascended the throne of Britain after the death of King Lear.