Study Guide

King Lear Characters

By William Shakespeare

King Lear

Lear—who's the King (!) of Britain—is a powerful and important man; he's the dang...

Edmund

The big thing to know about Edmund is that, as Shakespeare repeatedly says, he's "a bastard." But...

Edgar

Edgar begins the play as the rich and clueless son of Gloucester, one of the kingdom's most...

Earl of Gloucester

A powerful lord in Lear's court, Gloucester is part of Lear's generation—one of the moldy...

Cordelia

Cordelia is King Lear's favorite daughter until she refuses to flatter the old man and gets...

Goneril

Goneril is one of Lear's wicked daughters. After Lear gives her half his lands, she promptly...

Duke of Albany

Albany is Goneril's husband. Goneril walks all over him for the first half of the play, and even...

Regan

Regan is the younger (and potentially less wicked) of Lear's two evil daughters. Slightly more...

Duke of Cornwall

Cornwall, Regan's husband, represents abuse of power at its worst. Lear is certainly one for...

Earl of Kent

Kent is Lear's servant. He's also the guy Lear banishes in the first act after Kent warns his...

The Fool

The Fool is Lear's own stand-up comedian, sure, but more interestingly, he's the only guy that...

Oswald

Oswald, Goneril's servant, is your typical slime-ball. He does whatever Goneril wants him to do,...