King Lear is widely regarded as Shakespeare’s crowning achievement. This play recounts the misjudgment of a father in understanding his daughters and the tragedy that follows.
King Lear, an aging monarch, decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters, the best to the one who loves him most. His first two daughters, Goneril and Regan win over him by their embellished speeches of endearment, while the youngest, Cordelia modestly speaks the truth, angering her father who disinherits her and banishes her forever. Whether King Lear is justified in his act and whether he understands the true nature of Cordelia and at what cost, form the rest of the play.
Based on the legend of Leir of Britain, a pre-Celtic king, the play drives home the idea that chaos prevails when there is loss of authority. Along the way, themes like justice, betrayals in human relationships and reconciliation do pervade the entire play.