King Lear is the main character and a tragic hero in the play. Lear is the ruler of Britain. He is the father of Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia. Lear is fooled by Goneril and Regan, thinking that they love him the most of his three daughters. Because Cordelia refuses to lie to her father to obtain part of her father's kingdom like her sisters, Lear banishes Cordelia from Britain

Goneril and Regan are two of the most evil characters in the play. They take advantage of their father's estate which King Lear rewards to them for proving their love for him. Despite being married both fight over Edmund, which leads to their deaths.

Cordelia is the youngest daughter of Lear, and the most virtuous of her sisters. She loves King Lear, but she does not flatter him like her sisters do in order to obtain her share of his kingdom. For this she is banished by her father. Cordelia still remains loyal to her father, who eventually pleads for forgiveness after learning that Regan and Goneril do not truely love him.

Gloucester remains loyal to King Lear and wants to help Lear when Goneril and Regan throw him out of the castle. Gloucester is regarded as a traitor and his eyes are later plucked out by Cornwall because he helped Lear.

The Duke of Burgundy and King of France Rivals for the hand of King Lear's youngest daughter, Cordelia. Cordelia ends up with the King of France. We are introducted to both in the beginning of Act I, Scene I and never hear from them again throughout the play.