King Lear-The namesake of the play. King Lear is an old man whose pride costs him everything. The tragedy of the play begins with the test he gives his three daughters.† He is deceived by two of them and gives them power; he exiles the one that is honest with him.† This folly and pride ultimately kill him.
Regan- One of the two "evil" and deceitful sisters in the play who pretend to honor, love, and respect Lear in order to obtain power.† She is the first to openly betray him. Her husband is the Duke of Cornwall.† Goneril poisons her.
Goneril- The other "evil" sister. Along with Regan, Goneril destroys their father.† She is married to the Duke of Albany.† After her sisterís murder is discovered, Goneril commits suicide.
Cordelia- The youngest daughter. She is the favorite and is the one that truly loves Lear the most, but she is also honest.† Instead of flattering Lear, she tells him that she only loves him as a daughter should.† This causes Lear to exile her to the King of France.† In the end of the play, she is finally able to prove her love to her father.
The Earl of Gloucester- Part of the secondary plot of the play.† He is tragically deceived by his illegitimate son, Edmund, in order for him to disinherit his son Edgar.
Edgar- Gloucester's legitimate son and heir.† Similar to Cordeliaís role in the play.† His integrity leads him to be driven off into the woods where he spends much of the play in disguise as a beggar.
Edmund- Gloucester's second son.† He is characterized as the bastard son.† He also involves Goneril and Regan in a love triangle in the play. Edmund manipulates both his father and brother in order to gain Gloucesterís inheritance.† He also gives the order for Cordeliaís and Learís executions.
Kent- One of the few people in the play that is actually Lear's ally.† In the beginning of the play he protests Learís decision to cast out Cordelia, and he, in turn, is exiled,† but disguises himself in order to retain a close eye on Lear and, hopefully, guide him.
The Duke of Cornwall- He is Regan's husband.† Along with Regan, he is the first to turn his back on Lear.† He also gives the order to blind Gloucester by taking his eyes.
The Duke of Albany- Gonerilís husband.† Also an evil man.† He is one of the few that manages to stay alive in the end of the play.
The Fool- Learís most trusted advisor and friend.† His motives center solely on Lear and Cordeliaís best interests.† He is the truth-bearer throughout the play.
Oswald- One of Gonerilís toadies. He is a slimy knave who helps Goneril along.
The Duke of Burgundy- Before Cordelia gets herself thrown out, he is one of her suitors, but he loses interest after she loses all of her power.
The King of France- Cordelia's husband.† He invades England (which is what brings Cordelia back to her father).
Image borrowed from King Lear