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Cordelia Timeline and Summary

  • 1.2 Cordelia is the baby of the Lear family, and she's definitely her father's favorite. When King Lear starts, she is about to choose between marrying either the Duke of Burgundy or the King of France. Then her father announces that he's going to divide his kingdom among his three daughters on the basis of which one of them loves him the most. Her sisters make gushing, insincere speeches about their love, but Cordelia refuses to say anything at all – except for some scathing criticism of her insincere sisters. Furious, Lear disowns her, which means Burgundy no longer wants to marry her. Luckily, the King of France likes girls with principles, so he says he will take her off to France as his bride.
  • 4.4 Cordelia shows up in Britain with a bunch of soldiers she borrowed from her husband, the King of France. Cordelia has heard all about the terrible ways Lear has been treated by her sisters, and she's determined to kick them out of power and put Lear back on the throne, where he belongs. She discusses these plans with her soldiers and prays that Lear, who has gone crazy after all that he's been through, will recover. Lear has run off somewhere, so she sends 100 soldiers after him.
  • 4.7 Cordelia is finally reunited with her father, who begs her forgiveness.
  • 5.2 After losing the battle, Edmund captures Cordelia and Lear. Cordelia demands to be taken before her sisters, but Lear says he would rather just go to prison instead, as it's a nice vantage point from which to make fun of everyone.
  • 5.3 Cordelia is hanged offstage by Edmund's captain. Lear, howling in grief, carries her dead body onstage.