King Lear is getting old, and wants to divide his kingdom between his three daughters; Regan, Goneril, and Cordelia. He wants to give more to the daughter who loves him the most, so he asks them to tell him how much they love him. While Regan and Goneril flatter their father, Cordelia refuses to be so shallow. Lear gets angry and disowns her. Lear, now without property, tries to live with his daughters, but the drama is too much. Cordelia is the only one who will care for him.
Meanwhile Gloucester's son's, Edmund and Edgar, are deceiving him over who is rightfully the first born. Edmund defeats the French with his English army and orders that Cordelia be executed. Lear dies of grief over the death of his daughter.