Why did King Lear summon his three daughters?Why did King Lear summon his three daughters, and what was the result?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

King Lear summons his three daughters to inform them that because he is getting old he wishes to divide his kingdom among them and to retire. He tells them he will give the best portion to the daughter who convinces him that she loves him the most. His only stipulation is that he will live with each of them by due turns and bring one hundred knights to serve as companions and sustain his regal dignity. Goneril and Regan both try to outdo each other in describing a love which neither of them obviously feels for the old man. Cordelia, who truly loves her father, refuses to participate in this contest. Her perceived coldness and obstinacy infuriate the King, and he ends up making the terrible mistake of disinheriting her and dividing her third of his kingdom between the two greedy, mendacious sisters. Ultimately, Goneril and Regan mistreat Lear so badly that he finds himself homeless, and his disillusionment drives him mad.