That is why it is not characterized as a historical play.
Lear is used to enjoying absolute power and to being flattered, and he does not respond well to being contradicted or challenged. At the beginning of the play, his values are notably hollow—he prioritizes the appearance of love over actual devotion and wishes to maintain the power of a king while unburdening himself of the responsibility.
Nevertheless, he inspires loyalty in subjects such as Gloucester, Kent, Cordelia, and Edgar, all of whom risk their lives for him. Read an in-depth analysis of King Lear. 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. Read an in-depth analysis of Cordelia.
Goneril is jealous, treacherous, and amoral. Read an in-depth analysis of Goneril. 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. Read an in-depth analysis of Regan.
The first thing we learn about Gloucester is that he is an adulterer, having fathered a bastard son, Edmund. His fate is in many ways parallel to that of Lear: 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.
He is a formidable character, succeeding in almost all of his schemes and wreaking destruction upon virtually all of the other characters. Read an in-depth analysis of Edmund. He is extremely loyal, but he gets himself into trouble throughout the play by being extremely blunt and outspoken.
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.
Unlike Albany, Cornwall is domineering, cruel, and violent, and he works with his wife and sister-in-law Goneril to persecute Lear and Gloucester.A watercolour of King Lear and the Fool in the storm from Act III, Scene ii of King Lear Edmund betrays Gloucester to Cornwall, Regan, and Goneril.
He reveals evidence that his father knows of an impending French invasion designed to reinstate Lear to the throne; and in fact a French army has landed in Britain. The Earl of Gloucester is old school. He is a powerful lord in King Lear's court.
Then the old mad king decides that he wants to retire. GLOUCESTER Go to; say you nothing. There is division betwixt the dukes, and a worse matter than that.
I have received a letter this night; 'tis dangerous to be spoken; I have locked the letter in my closet. These injuries the king now bears will be revenged home; there's part of a power already footed.
We must incline to the king. The year-old King Lear divides his kingdom among his daughters, Goneril, Regan and Cordelia, according to their affection for him. Jim Broadbent as Earl of Gloucester.
Florence Pugh as 71%. Lear, King of Britain. King of France. Duke of Burgundy. Duke of Cornwall. Duke of Albany.
Earl of Kent. Earl of Gloucester. Edgar, son of Gloucester. Gloucester - A nobleman loyal to King Lear whose rank, earl, is below that of duke. The first thing we learn about Gloucester is that he is an adulterer, having fathered a bastard son, Edmund.
The first thing we learn about Gloucester is that he is an adulterer, having fathered a bastard son, Edmund.