Theatre: King Lear

Lear, King of Britain, decides to abdicate and divide his kingdom between his three daughters. When his beloved youngest, Cordelia, refuses to make a public declaration of love for her father she is disinherited and married to the King of France without a dowry. The Earl of Kent is banished by Lear for daring to defend her. The two elder daughters, Goneril and Regan, and their husbands inherit the kingdom. Gloucester, deceived by his bastard son Edmund, disinherits his legitimate son, Edgar, who is forced to go on the run to save his life. Lear, now stripped of his power, quarrels with Goneril and Regan about the conditions of his lodging in their households. In a rage he goes out into the stormy night, accompanied by his Fool and by Kent, now disguised as a servant. They encounter Edgar, disguised as a mad beggar called 'Poor Tom'. Gloucester is betrayed by Edmund and captured by Regan and Cornwall, who put out his eyes. King Lear is taken secretly to Dover, where Cordelia has landed with a French army. The blind Gloucester meets but does not recognize Edgar, who leads him to Dover. Lear and Cordelia are reconciled, but in the ensuing battle are captured by the sisters' forces. Goneril and Regan are both in love with Edmund, who encourages them both. Discovering this, Goneril's husband Albany forces Edmund to defend himself against the charge of treachery. A knight appears to challenge Edmund and, after fatally wounding him, reveals himself to be Edgar. News comes that Goneril has poisoned Regan and then committed suicide. Before dying, Edmund reveals that he has ordered the deaths of Lear and Cordelia.

King Lear..................Paul Scofield
Goneril.....................Irene Worth
Regan......................Pauline Jameson
Cordelia...................Diana Rigg

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