A line-by-line translation

King Lear

King Lear Translation Table of Contents

Now you can read King Lear alongside a modern translation that anyone can understand. Use the translation to enrich your understanding of Shakespeare's original and avoid getting bogged down in archaic language.

Act 1, Scene 1

King Lear divides his kingdom between his daughters based on their flattery. Cordelia and Kent fall out of favor.

Act 1, Scene 2

Edmund shows his father a fake letter implying that Edgar is plotting against him. Edmund feigns concern for Edgar.

Act 1, Scene 3

Lear annoys Goneril while he stays with her. She encourages her servants to be unaccommodating towards Lear's men.

Act 1, Scene 4

Kent (in disguise) becomes a servant of Lear. Goneril enters and upsets Lear. Lear decides to live with Regan instead.

Act 1, Scene 5

Lear sends Kent to Regan. Lear's Fool scolds Lear for his actions. They head to Regan's house.

Act 2, Scene 1

Edmund pretends to fight with Edgar to incriminate him. Edgar flees and Gloucester sends men to find him.

Act 2, Scene 2

Kent (Lear's messenger) and Oswald (Goneril's messenger) fight. Regan and Cornwall put Kent in the stocks.

Act 2, Scene 3

Edgar is being hunted. He decides to disguise himself as Poor Tom, a crazy beggar.

Act 2, Scene 4

Lear discovers Kent in the stocks. The sisters refuse to speak to Lear or to house his men.

Act 3, Scene 1

Kent says that the kingdom is being infiltrated by France. He sends a gentleman to Cordelia to ask for her help.

Act 3, Scene 2

Lear stays outside in a storm. Kent and the Fool encourage him to find shelter.

Act 3, Scene 3

Gloucester tells Edmund that there is a quarrel between the dukes and a possible invasion. Edmund decides to betray him.

Act 3, Scene 4

Edgar (in disguise), Lear, Kent (in disguise), the Fool, and Gloucester meet outside in the storm.

Act 3, Scene 5

In a conversation with Cornwall, Edmund incriminates Gloucester. Edmund plans to prove that he is helping Lear.

Act 3, Scene 6

Lear appears to be losing his mind. Gloucester, Kent, the Fool, and Edgar try to comfort him.

Act 3, Scene 7

The French have invaded Britain. Gloucester is hunted and captured. Cornwall plucks out his eyes.

Act 4, Scene 1

Gloucester enters blindly and Edgar decides to accompany him. Gloucester asks Edgar to take him to a cliff edge.

Act 4, Scene 2

Goneril kisses Edmund. Albany feels disgusted with Goneril. A messenger reveals that Cornwall has died from his wounds.

Act 4, Scene 3

Cordelia and her husband, the King of France, have invaded Britain. Cornwall and Albany's soldiers approach the French.

Act 4, Scene 4

Cordelia searches for her father. Meanwhile, the French army prepares to fight the British.

Act 4, Scene 5

Regan plans to marry Edmund now that Cornwall, her husband, is dead.

Act 4, Scene 6

Edgar pretends to lead Gloucester to a cliff's edge. Oswald enters and attacks Gloucester. Edgar kills Oswald.

Act 4, Scene 7

King Lear has been found and receives medical attention. Lear is reconciled with Cordelia before the battle.

Act 5, Scene 1

Regan asks Edmund to marry her. Edmund is not sure which sister to marry. Edgar gives Albany a letter.

Act 5, Scene 2

The two armies fight and the British win. Lear and Cordelia are captured. Edgar and Gloucester seek shelter.

Act 5, Scene 3

Gloucester, Edmund, Regan, Goneril, Cordelia, and Lear die. Edgar becomes king after Kent refuses.
Matt cosby
About the Translator: Matt Cosby
Matt Cosby graduated from Amherst College in 2011, and currently works as a writer and editor for LitCharts. He is from Florida but now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he also makes art, plays the piano, and goes to dog parks.