What is the short summary of King Lear?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

King Lear by William Shakespeare is a tragedy written mainly in blank verse concerning the downfall of King Lear and the Earl of Gloucester due to the ingratitude of their children. It was first performed in 1606. 

King Lear is an aging monarch with no male heir. He decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters and their husbands. He requires them to give speeches proving their love for him. The evil sisters Goneril and Regan use exaggerated flattery, but the good sister Cordelia speaks plainly and simply. Lear disinherits Cordelia and splits his kingdom between the evil sisters. The evil sisters cause Lear to become a homeless beggar, and he goes insane. 

Meanwhile, Gloucester's evil bastard Edmund plots against the good son Edgar and his father Gloucester. Cordelia's French husband mobilizes an army against Goneril and Regan's kingdoms. Edgar helps Lear. Edmund, Goneril, and Regan are involved in a love triangle. 

Eventually, Lear regains his sanity and is reunited with Cordelia, but they both die. Goneril kills Regan. Edgar kills Edmund. Justice and order are restored to the kingdoms. 

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King Lear

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