King Lear is believed by many to be Shakespeare's masterpiece. Written as a political and social commentary on post-Elizabethan England, King Lear demonstrates what results when individuals let vanity and greed lead them to trespass the bounds of order and proportion, ignoring their natural responsibility to family, community and country. The chaotic consequences: leaders renounce duty; fathers disown children; children displace fathers; war, homicide, fratricide, suicide, and madness. We join Lear and his counterpart, Gloucester, as they are stripped of position, power, family, and sanity - and in the process, through the unwavering devotion of Kent and the Fool, the filial loves of Edgar and Cordelia - discovering their humanity and what it means to forgive and be forgiven. Lear becomes the antithesis of his former arrogant self; he achieves a life without "lendings" - the accumulated material possessions we cling to for meaning - or the need of them.