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King Lear Characters

Meet the Cast

King Lear

(Click the character infographic to download.) Lear—who's the King (!) of Britain—is a powerful and important man; he's the dang king. But he's getting older, slowing down, and thinking of reti...

Edmund

(Click the character infographic to download.) You Know Nothing, Jon Snow—er—EdmundThe big thing to know about Edmund is that, as Shakespeare repeatedly says, he's "a bastard." But unlike Jon S...

Edgar

(Click the character infographic to download.) Ed's (As Good As) Dead, Baby.Edgar begins the play as the rich and clueless son of Gloucester, one of the kingdom's most powerful men. Edmund, Edgar's...

Earl of Gloucester

(Click the character infographic to download.) Curses, Foiled Again!A powerful lord in Lear's court, Gloucester is part of Lear's generation—one of the moldy oldies. In the power struggle that fo...

Cordelia

(Click the character infographic to download.) Cordelia is King Lear's favorite daughter until she refuses to flatter the old man and gets booted out of the kingdom without a dowry. Soon after, she...

Goneril

(Click the character infographic to download.) The Nasty Name Says It AllGoneril is one of Lear's wicked daughters. After Lear gives her half his lands, she promptly betrays him and doesn't shed a...

Duke of Albany

Albany is Goneril's husband. Goneril walks all over him for the first half of the play, and even once he realizes his wife is a totally vicious, Albany still doesn't do much to stop her. Alban...

Regan

(Click the character infographic to download.) Regan is the younger (and potentially less wicked) of Lear's two evil daughters. Slightly more passive, Regan can't oppose her father on her own—she...

Duke of Cornwall

Cornwall, Regan's husband, represents abuse of power at its worst. Lear is certainly one for getting angry and making poor decisions, but Cornwall's anger has a sadistic edge. He enjoys causing oth...

Earl of Kent

Kent is Lear's servant. He's also the guy Lear banishes in the first act after Kent warns his king not to disown Cordelia. The thing to know about Kent is that he is loyalty personified. He would d...

The Fool

The Fool is Lear's own stand-up comedian, sure, but more interestingly, he's the only guy that Lear allows to criticize him. (Remember, when Kent lips off, Lear boots him out of the kingdom and whe...

Oswald

Oswald, Goneril's servant, is your typical slime-ball. He does whatever Goneril wants him to do, immoral or not. Oswald's fight with Kent is symbolic: a loyal servant who has his master's best inte...
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