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Summary of King Lear, Act 1, Scene 1:


Enter KENT, GLOUCESTER, and EDMUND.
     Three men—one old, one middle-aged, and one young—are at King Lear's court, awaiting the arrival of the king and his entourage. The oldest man is the Earl of Gloucester, the main figure in the secondary plot which parallels the main plot. (By the way, his name is pronounced with only two syllables and was originally printed as "Gloster.") The middle-aged man is the Earl of Kent, who will demonstrate perfect loyalty to King Lear. The young man is Edmund, Gloucester's bastard son, one of Shakespeare's strangely appealing villains.
     The two older men are deep in a conversation about the big news of the moment: that King Lear is about to divide his kingdom. Kent had thought that the king had favored the Duke of Albany, husband of the king's eldest daughter, Goneril, over the Duke of Cornwall, husband of the king' second daughter, Regan. Gloucester had heard the same thing, but now it seems that the king has changed his mind, so that "it appears not which of the dukes he values most."

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