Act 1 scene 1
Gloucester and Kent discuss the division of Lear’s kingdom. Gloucester introduces Kent to his bastard son Edmund. Lear reveals his plans to divide the country and hand over his power to his daughters and will give the most land to the daughter who proffesses she loves him most. He banishes cordelia because she does mot profess her love and Kent is the only nobleman who disagrees and is also exiled.
Act 1 scene 2
Edmund performs his first soliloquy in which he reveals that he is plotting to set up his brother and convince his father that Edgar is plotting to kill him in order to inherit Gloucesters money. Edmund succeeds in planting this idea into his fathers mind by forging a letter supposedly from Edgar revealing his plot to kill his father.
Act 1 scene 3
Lear spends the night at Gonerils castle and Goneril complains to Oswald , her steward that Lear’s knights are causing trouble and are too loud. Goneril commands her servants to be hostile to Lear and his knights.
Act 1 scene 4
Kent enters disguised as the peasant Caius. Kent persuades Lear to take him into his services and Lear agrees. Oswald is rude to Lear and Kent trips Oswald. The Fool tells Lear that he has been foolish in handing over his kingdom to his daughhters. Goneril confronts Lear about his disruptive knights and orders him to send away half as it is unnecessary. Lear is offended and goes to stay with Regan. Albany claims that Goneril has been harsh.
Act 1 scene 5
Kent delivers a message from Lear to Gloucester. The fool continues to suggest the consequences of Lears decision and suggests that Regan will not treat him any better than Goneril.
Act 2 scene 1
Gloucesters servant Curan tells Edmund that Regan and Cornwall are comjng to their castle. Curan discusses future trouble between Albany and Cornwall. Edmund realises that he can use this to his advantage. Edmund convinces Edgar that Cornwall is angry at him for siding with Albany and that Gloucester is coming for him so he has to flee. Edmund pretends his brother stabbed him and is plotting to kill Gloucester. Gloucester vows to get Edgar. Regan and Cornwall arrive and do not believe edmund but believe that the knights put Wdgar upto his plotting.
Act 2 scene 2
Oswald and Kent meet and Kent abuses Oswald after Oswald does not recognise him. Gloucester, cornwall and regan come to help oswald and Kent is rude to them so they call for him to be put in the stocks. Kent reads a letter after everyone has left from cordelia.
Act 2 scene 3
Edgar enters while kent is asleep and states that he is going to change his status into a peasant called ‘Tom’ ans covers himself in dirt.
Act 2 scene 4
Lear the fool and a knight arrive at Gloucester’s castle and Lear spots Kent in the stocks and becomes very aggressive. Kent tells Lear that it was Regan and Cornwall that put him in the stocks and he demands to speak with them but they refuse. Regan refuses to shelter Lear unless he only brings 25 knights and Lear, Regan and Goneril discuss numbers of knights and in the end none of them agree to shelter him. Lear is outraged and goes outside into the storm with his Fool and regan suggests tngat everyone should shut their gates.
Act 3 scene 1
Kent goes into the storm looking for Lear and runs into his knight. Kent hands him secret information about Cornwall and Albany and a ring and orders the knight to give it to Cordelia.
Act 3 scene 2
Lear wonders around the storm and the fool urges him to go back indoors but Lear ignores him. Kent finds them and tells them to seek shelter in a nearby hovel. The fool makes a phrophecy.
Act 3 scene 3
Gloucester defends Lear and claims he is going to help him but Regan and Cornwall become angry and take his castle and command him never to speak to Lear again.
Act 3 scene 4
Kent leads Lear and the fool into a hovel in which they find Edgar disguised as poor tom and Edgar and Lear express their depression at their situation. The madness is heightened by Edgars incoherent speech and the storm. Gloucester comes and tells them to take shelter at his castle.
Act 3 scene 5
Edmund shows Cornwall the forged letter from “edgar” and they plot against Gloucester.
Act 3 scene 6
lear, the Fool, Kent and Disguised Edgar are in Gloucesters castle and they decide to have a movj trial in which they trial an imaginary Regan and Goneril. Gloucester warns them of a plot to kill Lear and instructs Kent to take Lear to Dover. Edgars final soliloquy suggests that suffering is more bearable when shared
Act 3 scene 7
Gloucester Edmund goneril and Regan find out about Gloucester helping Lear and take his eyes out. Gloucester finds out about Edmunds deception. A servant loyal to Gloucester wounds Cornwall and Regan consequently kills the servant
Act 4 scene 1
Edgars soliloquysuggezts that being a low status character in society isnot always bad. Gloucester is lead by an old man to his son.
Act 4 scene 2
Gonerils attraction to Edmund is obvious and her jealousy begins to show when she finds out from a messenger Cornwall is dead and Regan is now a widow. Albany and Regan fight and insult eachother consequently emasculating Albany and defiminuses Goneril.
Act 4 scene 3
Kent visits Cordelia in France and speaks sith a gentleman about Cordelia and the contrast between Cordelia and Gonerilbecomes apparent. Cordelia announces that she wants to find and speak withher father
Act 4 scene 5
Regan questions why Goneril is so interested in Edmund and what her mltives are. She requests Oswald to give Edmund something and implies that she deserves Edmunds love more than Goneril because she is deprived of a husband.
Act 4 scene 6
Disguised Edgar leads Gloucester towards Dover and pretends to help Gloucester jump off the cliffs of Dover. He tells Gloucester that it is a miracle he survived and Gloucester’s outlook radically changes. They come across Lear who is crowned with wild flowers , talking incoherently about Gloucester’s adultery with a strange perceptiveness. Cordelia and her men come to find Lear and Edgar kills Oswald who was plotting to kill Gloucester. Edgar reads Oswald’s letter from Goneril urging Edmund to kill Albany so they can be together.
Act 4 scene 7
In France Cordelia and Kent discuss Kent’s disguise and Lear is brought in. Lear only somewhat remembers Cordelia and doesnt understand why she is showing him kindness when he did not show her the same. We learn of Cornwall’s death and the fast approaching battle between France and England.
Act 5 scene 1
Regan’s jealousy over her sister is portrayed and their rivalry in terms of gaining Edmund’s love. Albany and Goneril enter and Albany (the highest ranking male chsracter at this point) deckares that he will only fight against Lear and the French in orser to repel the invasion but still shows his sympathies for Lear. Edgar, dressed as a peasant, hands Albany a letter to Edmund of Goneril’s plot to kill Albany. Edmund finishes the scene with a soliloquy explaining who he is going to pick between Goneril and Regan.
Act 5 scene 2
The battle begins between France and England, edgar shelters Gloucester by a tree and goes into battle. He eeturns claiming that the French have fallen and Lear and Cordelia have been taken as prisoners. Gloucester does not care for his fate until Edgar reminds him that death is predestined.
Act 5 scene 3
Lear and Cordelia are taken hostage by Edmund as he speaks to Albany and stalls for time in order for Lear and Corselia to be killed Regan and Goneril argue over who should have Edmund, Edmund is arrested by Albany and killed by Edgar. Goneril poisons Regan and then also dies. Lear enters holding the dead body of Cordelia in a distraught state and consequently also dies. Albany asks Kent to rule with him and Edgar but Kent declines.