Host Dennis Leap finishes the discussion of Shakespeare’s play King Lear, focusing on Act 5. The civil war between Cordelia’s French forces and her evil sisters, Regan and Goneril, explodes. Cordelia’s army loses the war and Edmund, Gloucester’s evil son, puts Lear and Cordelia in prison to be executed. Albany declares Edmund a traitor and appoints Edgar as ruler. Edgar accepts the job of healing the gored state of England, saying, “The weight of this sad time we must obey.”
Host Dennis Leap takes you back to Act IV, Scene 6 to discuss the important end of this scene. After Edgar convinces his father, Gloucester, that he fell down the precipitous White Cliffs of Dover, King Lear unexpectedly appears, completely insane. He is bedecked and crowned with weeds from the fields. In this scene, the two fathers face their failure in raising their children. Lear regrets the way his two eldest daughters have treated him. Gloucester regrets that he did not see the villainy in his illegitimate son, Edmund. This scene truly represents Shakespeare’s writing genius.
Host Dennis Leap discusses Lear’s madcap trial of his evil daughters Goneril and Regan in Act III, Scene 6. The Fool and Kent are legal aides, and Edgar (still pretending to be Poor Tom) is the judge. During the trial against Goneril (who is not there), Lear's descent into madness brings Edgar to tears and he fears being exposed. Back at his estate,Cornwall, Regan and Goneril put out Gloucester’s eyes and thrust him into the storm. Edgar finds his father blind and helpless and leads him to Dover where Gloucester wants to die. Cordelia also arrives in Dover with an army, a doctor and nurses to help her father Lear.
Host Dennis Leap discusses Act 3, Scene IV of King Lear. Loyal Kent and the Fool strive to protect Lear from the storm and descending further into madness. They lead Lear into a hovel where Edgar is still pretending to be Poor Tom. Gloucester finds them in the hovel, warns them that Lear’s daughters plan to kill Lear, and moves Lear, Kent, the Fool and Edgar (still playing poor Tom) into a dry place. Gloucester returns to his estate to get provisions for the king but does not return. Concerned, Edgar seeks out his father and discovers that Lear’s daughters have put out his eyes. Edgar remains disguised and helps his weakened father.
Host Dennis Leap discusses how Gloucester confides in his illegitimate son Edmund that he has received secret letters revealing that Cordelia and the King of France are landing at Dover to intervene on King Lear’s behalf in a civil war brewing between the dukes of Cornwall and Albany. Edmund betrays his father and informs the Duke of Cornwall in order to gain favor. Edmund is made Duke of Gloucester and wins his father’s estate. Cornwall, Regan and Gonneril torture Gloucester, gouging out his eyes and loosing him out of his estate in a storm.
Host Dennis Leap discusses how Lear’s and Gloucester’s evil children banish them from their lives. Act II, Scenes 3 and 4 show the wicked actions of Cornwall and Regan who push a heartbroken King Lear into a wicked nighttime storm, banishing him and his fool to a hovel in the wilderness.
Host Dennis Leap discusses the hateful disloyalty of King Lear’s lying daughters Gonneril and Regan. At the time of Lear’s ridiculous love test to divide the kingdom among his three daughters and their husbands, Goneril and Regan state that they love their father profusely. Yet Dennis shows their hatred for their elderly father.
Host Dennis Leap discusses the incredible loyalty Kent employs toward an outraged King Lear who banished him for giving wise council on why Lear should not banish his youngest daughter Cordelia. Dennis also explains that Shakespeare likely uses the character Kent to give King James I of England, formerly King James IV of Scotland, sagacious advice on how to connect with and win the support of the English aristocracy.
Host Dennis Leap gives a special lecture answering the question: Why did Shakespeare write the play King Lear? The answer shows how applicable this play is to today’s social, health and political news.
Host Dennis Leap discusses the role of the fool in Act I, Scene 4. The fool shows Lear in a humorous way how he made such bad decisions to give away his position as king and power to his daughters who actually hate him. My friend from England Richard reads the fool’s lines.