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bloody-hell (profile) wrote,
on 12-13-2005 at 11:34am
Subject: I need this for later.
King Lear Summary
In Britain, King Lear, in old age, chooses to retire and divide up Britain between his three daughters. However, he declares that they must first be wed before being given the land. He asks his daughters the extent of their love for him. The two oldest, Goneril and Regan, both flatter him with praise and are rewarded generously with land and marriage to the Duke of Albany and the Duke of Cornwall, respectively. Lear's youngest and most beloved daughter, Cordelia, refuses to flatter her father, going only so far as to say that she loves him as much as a daughter should. Lear, unjustly enraged, gives her no land. The Earl of Kent tries to convince Lear to reconsider, but Lear refuses then banishes Kent for acting traitorously by supporting Cordelia. Gloucester then brings the King of France and the Duke of Burgundy in and Lear offers Cordelia to Burgundy, though without a dowry of land, contrary to a previous agreement. Burgundy declines, but the French King, impressed by Cordelia's steadfastness, takes her as Queen of France. Next, Lear passes all powers and governance of Britain down to Albany and Cornwall.
Edmund, bastard son of Gloucester, vows to himself to reclaim land his father has given to his "legitimate" son Edgar. Edmund does this by showing his father a letter he (Edmund) forged, which makes it seem that Edgar wants to take over his father's lands and revenues jointly with Edmund. Gloucester is enraged, but Edmund calms him. Later, Edmund warns Edward that he is in trouble with his father, pretending to help him.
Goneril instructs her steward, Oswald, to act coldly to King Lear and his knights, in efforts to chide him since he continues to grow more unruly. Kent arrives, disguised as a servant, and offers his services to Lear, who accepts. However, as a result of the servants' lack of respect for Lear, his own fool's derisions of him, and Goneril's ill respect toward him, Lear storms out of Goneril's home, never to look on her again. Lear goes next to Regan's house. While leaving, the fool again criticizes Lear for giving his lands to his daughters. Lear fears he (himself) is becoming insane.
At Gloucester's castle, Edmund convinces Edgar to flee, then wounds himself to make it look like Edgar attacked him. Gloucester, thankful for Edmund's support of him, vows to capture Edgar and reward Edmund. Regan and Cornwall arrive to discuss with Albany their ensuing war against Lear. Kent arrives at Gloucester's with a message from Lear and meets Oswald (whom Kent dislikes and mistrusts) with a message from Goneril. Kent attacks Oswald, but Cornwall and Regan break up the fight, after which Kent is put in the stocks for 24 hours. Edgar, still running, tells himself he must disguise himself as a beggar. King Lear arrives, finding Kent in the stocks. At first, Regan and Cornwall refuse to see Lear, further enraging him, but then they allow him to enter. Oswald and Goneril arrive, and Lear becomes further enraged. After Regan and Goneril chide Lear to the brink, he leaves Gloucester's castle, entering a storm. The daughters and Cornwall are glad he leaves, though Gloucester is privately concerned for his health.
In the storm, Kent sends a man to Dover to get Cordelia and her French forces to rescue Lear and help him fight Albany and Cornwall. Lear stands in the storm swearing at it and his daughters, but Kent convinces him to hide in a cave. Gloucester tells Edmund of the French forces and departs for Lear, but Edmund plans to betray his father and inform Cornwall of the proceedings. Kent finds Lear, nearly delirious, in the storm, and tries to take him into the cave. Just then, Edgar emerges from the cave, pretending to be a madman. Lear likes him and refuses to go into the cave. Gloucester arrives (not recognizing Edgar), and convinces them all to go to a farmhouse of his. Edmund, as promised, informs Cornwall of Gloucester's dealings with the French army. Cornwall vows to arrest Gloucester and name Edmund the new Duke of Gloucester.
At the farmhouse, Lear, growing more insane, pretends his two eldest daughters are on trial for betraying him. Edgar laments that the King's predicament makes it difficult to keep up his (Edgar's) charade, out of sympathy for the King's madness. Gloucester returns and convinces Lear, Kent, and the fool to flee because Cornwall plans to kill him. Cornwall captures Gloucester and with Regan cheering him on, plucks out Gloucester's eyeballs with his bare fingers. During the torture, Gloucester's servant rescues his master from Cornwall and they flee to Dover to meet the French. On the way there, Gloucester and the servant meet Edgar (still a madman, named Poor Tom), who leads his father (Gloucester) the rest of the way.
At Albany's palace, Goneril promises her love to Edmund, since her husband (Albany) refuses to fight the French. Albany believes that the daughters mistreated their father (Lear). A messenger brings news that Cornwall is dead, from a fatal jab he received when a servant attacked him while he was plucking out Gloucester's eyeballs. Albany, feeling sorry for Gloucester and learning of Edmund's treachery with his wife, vows revenge.
At Dover, Cordelia sends a sentry out to find her estranged father. Regan instructs Oswald (Goneril's servant) to tell Edmund that she (Regan_ wants to marry him, since Cornwall is dead. Edgar pretends to let Gloucester jump off a cliff (Gloucester believes it truly happened), and then Edgar pretends to be a different man and continues to help his father. Lear, fully mad now, approaches and speaks to them. Cordelia's men arrive and take Lear to her. Oswald comes across Edgar and Gloucester, threatening to kill them. Edgar, though, kills Oswald, and discovers by letter that Goneril plants to murder Albany and marry Edmund. At Cordelia's camp, King Lear awakes, saner than before, and recognizes Cordelia.
At her camp, Goneril, while arguing with Albany, states to herself that she would rather lose the battle than let Regan marry Edmund. Edgar, disguised, brings warning of ill plots (by Goneril) to Albany. Lear and Cordelia are captured in battle by Edmund. Edmund sends them to jail and instructs a Captain to kill them. Edgar arrives and fights and wounds Edmund, who admits his treacheries to all. Goneril mortally poisons Regan, and then stabs herself. Edmund reveals that he and Regan ordered the Captain to hang Cordelia and kill Lear. Lear then emerges with dead Cordelia, and tells all he killed the Captain that hung her. Edmund dies and King Lear, in grief over Cordelia, dies.
King Lear - The aging king of Britain and the protagonist of the play. Lear is used to enjoying absolute power and to being flattered, and he does not respond well to being contradicted or challenged. At the beginning of the play, his values are notably hollowóhe prioritizes the appearance of love over actual devotion and wishes to maintain the power of a king while unburdening himself of the responsibility. Nevertheless, he inspires loyalty in subjects such as Gloucester, Kent, Cordelia, and Edgar, all of whom risk their lives for him.
King Lear (In-Depth Analysis)

Cordelia - Learís youngest daughter, disowned by her father for refusing to flatter him. Cordelia is held in extremely high regard by all of the good characters in the playóthe king of France marries her for her virtue alone, overlooking her lack of dowry. She remains loyal to Lear despite his cruelty toward her, forgives him, and displays a mild and forbearing temperament even toward her evil sisters, Goneril and Regan. Despite her obvious virtues, Cordeliaís reticence makes her motivations difficult to read, as in her refusal to declare her love for her father at the beginning of the play.
Cordelia (In-Depth Analysis)
Goneril - Learís ruthless oldest daughter and the wife of the duke of Albany. Goneril is jealous, treacherous, and amoral. Shakespeareís audience would have been particularly shocked at Gonerilís aggressiveness, a quality that it would not have expected in a female character. She challenges Learís authority, boldly initiates an affair with Edmund, and wrests military power away from her husband.
Goneril and Regan (In-Depth Analysis)
Regan - Learís middle daughter and the wife of the duke of Cornwall. Regan is as ruthless as Goneril and as aggressive in all the same ways. In fact, it is difficult to think of any quality that distinguishes her from her sister. When they are not egging each other on to further acts of cruelty, they jealously compete for the same man, Edmund.
Goneril and Regan (In-Depth Analysis)
Gloucester - A nobleman loyal to King Lear whose rank, earl, is below that of duke. The first thing we learn about Gloucester is that he is an adulterer, having fathered a bastard son, Edmund. His fate is in many ways parallel to that of Lear: he misjudges which of his children to trust. He appears weak and ineffectual in the early acts, when he is unable to prevent Lear from being turned out of his own house, but he later demonstrates that he is also capable of great bravery.
Edgar - Gloucesterís older, legitimate son. Edgar plays many different roles, starting out as a gullible fool easily tricked by his brother, then assuming a disguise as a mad beggar to evade his fatherís men, then carrying his impersonation further to aid Lear and Gloucester, and finally appearing as an armored champion to avenge his brotherís treason. Edgarís propensity for disguises and impersonations makes it difficult to characterize him effectively.
Edmund - Gloucesterís younger, illegitimate son. Edmund resents his status as a bastard and schemes to usurp Gloucesterís title and possessions from Edgar. He is a formidable character, succeeding in almost all of his schemes and wreaking destruction upon virtually all of the other characters.
Edmund (In-Depth Analysis)
Kent - A nobleman of the same rank as Gloucester who is loyal to King Lear. Kent spends most of the play disguised as a peasant, calling himself ďCaius,Ē so that he can continue to serve Lear even after Lear banishes him. He is extremely loyal, but he gets himself into trouble throughout the play by being extremely blunt and outspoken.
Albany - The husband of Learís daughter Goneril. Albany is good at heart, and he eventually denounces and opposes the cruelty of Goneril, Regan, and Cornwall. Yet he is indecisive and lacks foresight, realizing the evil of his allies quite late in the play.
Cornwall - The husband of Learís daughter Regan. Unlike Albany, Cornwall is domineering, cruel, and violent, and he works with his wife and sister-in-law Goneril to persecute Lear and Gloucester.
Fool - Learís jester, who uses double-talk and seemingly frivolous songs to give Lear important advice.
Oswald - The steward, or chief servant, in Gonerilís house. Oswald obeys his mistressís commands and helps her in her conspiracies.





Midsummer Night's Dream Summary
Theseus (the Duke of Athens) announces he will marry Hippolyta, the queen of the Amazons in four days. He hears Egeus' complaint that his daughter Hermia refuses to marry his chosen suitor, Demetrius, since she's in love with Lysander, who Egeus dislikes. Theseus declares Hermia must marry Demetrius, or choose between death or joining a nunnery. Lysander instructs Hermia to flee to the forest with him, so that they can travel to his aunt's house to marry. Hermia's friend, Helena, learns of this and decides to inform Demetrius, whom she likes (and has slept with). Demetrius, though, loves Hermia. Helena hopes they will all meet in the forest. Meanwhile, Quince, Bottom, Flute, Starveling, Snug, and Snout organize a play to be performed at Theseus' wedding.
In the forest, Oberon (the King of the Fairies) argues with Titania (the Fairy Queen) that he should have her orphan child as his page. Titania objects, asserting she is queen. The bicker that Oberon loves Hippolyta and Titania loves Theseus. To obtain the boy, Oberon orders the fairy Puck (aka Robin Goodfellow) to obtain a flower from Cupid that causes on to love the first person a person sees. Oberon plans to give it to Titania, so she'll love a vile thing and give him the child. Demetrius and Helena appear, Helena pursuing him, and he fleeing her. Puck arrives with the flower, and Oberon orders Puck to anoint Demetrius with it so he'll love Helena rather than Hermia. Oberon then anoints Titania with the flower. In the forest, Lysander and Hermia lie down to rest. Puck, thinking Lysander is Demetrius, anoints him with the flower. Helena appears and awakes Lysander, who immediately falls in love with her.
In the forest, the troupe of players discuss the logistics of their play. Puck appears and transforms Bottom to have an ass' (donkey's) head. The actors flee, but Titania awakes and falls in love with Bottom and orders her fairy servants to attend to him. Puck observes that Demetrius chases Hermia, yet she accuses him of murdering Lysander, and realizes he gave the flower to the wrong man. Oberon tries to remedy this by anointing Lysander with the flower so he'll fall in love with Helena, and he does. However, now both men love Helena, while she believes both are false. Hermia arrives and Helena accuses her of conspiring with the men to tease her. Oberon, realizing Puck has caused these problems, orders him to make a thick fog to separate the four people and force them into a deep sleep, so the spell can wear off.
Oberon awakes Titania and transforms Bottom back to a human. Oberon and Titania then make up and love each other again. In the woods, Theseus, Hippolyta, and Egeus appear and awake the four. Demetrius and Lysander inform the men of their love for Helena and Hermia (respectively). The lords agree to let them marry. Separately, Bottom awakes and remembers the night's occurrences.
At dinner, they all hear Quince's ten word, tedious, brief, tragic play. In it, Thisbe (played by Flute) and Pyramus (played by Bottom) whisper their love through a chink in a wall (played by Snout). They vow to meet at Ninny's tomb, but a lion (played by Snug) attacks Thisbe. Pyramus arrives and finds her scarf, assumes she's dead, and kills himself Thisby arrives to find him dead, and kills herself. After the play, at midnight, all go to bed, and then the fairies appear and frolic.
Puck - Also known as Robin Goodfellow, Puck is Oberonís jester, a mischievous fairy who delights in playing pranks on mortals. Though A Midsummer Nightís Dream divides its action between several groups of characters, Puck is the closest thing the play has to a protagonist. His enchanting, mischievous spirit pervades the atmosphere, and his antics are responsible for many of the complications that propel the other main plots: he mistakes the young Athenians, applying the love potion to Lysander instead of Demetrius, thereby causing chaos within the group of young lovers; he also transforms Bottomís head into that of an ass.
Oberon - The king of the fairies, Oberon is initially at odds with his wife, Titania, because she refuses to relinquish control of a young Indian prince whom he wants for a knight. Oberonís desire for revenge on Titania leads him to send Puck to obtain the love-potion flower that creates so much of the playís confusion and farce.
Titania - The beautiful queen of the fairies, Titania resists the attempts of her husband, Oberon, to make a knight of the young Indian prince that she has been given. Titaniaís brief, potion-induced love for Nick Bottom, whose head Puck has transformed into that of an ass, yields the playís foremost example of the contrast motif.
Lysander - A young man of Athens, in love with Hermia. Lysanderís relationship with Hermia invokes the theme of loveís difficulty: he cannot marry her openly because Egeus, her father, wishes her to wed Demetrius; when Lysander and Hermia run away into the forest, Lysander becomes the victim of misapplied magic and wakes up in love with Helena.
Demetrius - A young man of Athens, initially in love with Hermia and ultimately in love with Helena. Demetriusís obstinate pursuit of Hermia throws love out of balance among the quartet of Athenian youths and precludes a symmetrical two-couple arrangement.
Hermia - Egeusís daughter, a young woman of Athens. Hermia is in love with Lysander and is a childhood friend of Helena. As a result of the fairiesí mischief with Oberonís love potion, both Lysander and Demetrius suddenly fall in love with Helena. Self-conscious about her short stature, Hermia suspects that Helena has wooed the men with her height. By morning, however, Puck has sorted matters out with the love potion, and Lysanderís love for Hermia is restored.
Helena - A young woman of Athens, in love with Demetrius. Demetrius and Helena were once betrothed, but when Demetrius met Helenaís friend Hermia, he fell in love with her and abandoned Helena. Lacking confidence in her looks, Helena thinks that Demetrius and Lysander are mocking her when the fairiesí mischief causes them to fall in love with her.
Helena (In-Depth Analysis)
Egeus - Hermiaís father, who brings a complaint against his daughter to Theseus: Egeus has given Demetrius permission to marry Hermia, but Hermia, in love with Lysander, refuses to marry Demetrius. Egeusís severe insistence that Hermia either respect his wishes or be held accountable to Athenian law places him squarely outside the whimsical dream realm of the forest.
Theseus - The heroic duke of Athens, engaged to Hippolyta. Theseus represents power and order throughout the play. He appears only at the beginning and end of the story, removed from the dreamlike events of the forest.
Hippolyta - The legendary queen of the Amazons, engaged to Theseus. Like Theseus, she symbolizes order.
Nick Bottom - The overconfident weaver chosen to play Pyramus in the craftsmenís play for Theseusís marriage celebration. Bottom is full of advice and self-confidence but frequently makes silly mistakes and misuses language. His simultaneous nonchalance about the beautiful Titaniaís sudden love for him and unawareness of the fact that Puck has transformed his head into that of an ass mark the pinnacle of his foolish arrogance.
Nick Bottom (In-Depth Analysis)
Peter Quince - A carpenter and the nominal leader of the craftsmenís attempt to put on a play for Theseusís marriage celebration. Quince is often shoved aside by the abundantly confident Bottom. During the craftsmenís play, Quince plays the Prologue.
Francis Flute - The bellows-mender chosen to play Thisbe in the craftsmenís play for Theseusís marriage celebration. Forced to play a young girl in love, the bearded craftsman determines to speak his lines in a high, squeaky voice.
Robin Starveling - The tailor chosen to play Thisbeís mother in the craftsmenís play for Theseusís marriage celebration. He ends up playing the part of Moonshine.
Tom Snout - The tinker chosen to play Pyramusís father in the craftsmenís play for Theseusís marriage celebration. He ends up playing the part of Wall, dividing the two lovers.
Snug - The joiner chosen to play the lion in the craftsmenís play for Theseusís marriage celebration. Snug worries that his roaring will frighten the ladies in the audience.
Philostrate - Theseusís Master of the Revels, responsible for organizing the entertainment for the dukeís marriage celebration.
Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Mote, and Mustardseed - The fairies ordered by Titania to attend to Bottom after she falls in love with him.

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