Old King Lear, weary of royal duties, decides to break up his kingdom, divide it among his three daughters, and present the largest part to the one who loves him most. His two eldest daughters profess their love extravagantly, but young Cordelia refuses to flatter him. Enraged, he banishes her to France. But the old king's rash generosity is cruelly repaid. Cast out by his daughters onto a bare heath during a pitiless storm, Lear discovers too late the false values by which he has lived and, devastatingly, the suffering common to all humanity.
Its tempestuous poetry shot through with touches of humour and moments of heartrending simplicity, King Lear is one of the most far-reaching artistic explorations of the human condition.