Lear's dilemma - future of Britain & Cordelia
Tripartition of Britain - Lear's grand plan
Kent & Gloster - Lear's attitude to Cornwall
Act 1 Scene 1 - Enter KING LEAR
The flattery game - Goneril & Regan
Sharing the kingdom - a third more opulent
Lear and flattery - did he love it or hate it?
Duke of Burgundy - the dowerless suitor
King of France - in choler parted
Edmund - sectary astronomical
Duke of Albany - worthy prince
Queen Goneril - King Lear's successor?
Oswald - this detested groom
Goneril - under the influence
Regan - is she worse than Goneril?
Goneril/Edmund/Regan - unequilateral triangle
Division 'twixt Albany and Cornwall - rumour
Lear's sanity - recovery
The final tableau - Lear endures his going hence
The last word - Albany or Edgar?
The tripartition of Britain
Lear's grand plan solves his dilemma
Lear thinks up a masterstroke that can, simultaneously, solve his foreign policy problem and his domestic policy problem, and that the best time, almost the only time, is to implement it now.
Lear's foreign policy solution
Cordelia/Burgundy — versus — Goneril/Regan/France
Lear's domestic policy solution
Cordelia/Burgundy — versus — Goneril/Regan
The Effect of the Tripartition
Lear is locked into what he, France and Burgundy, after lengthy negotiations, have mutually agreed is to be Cordelia's dowry. His own palace, which is more opulent than either Albany's or Cornwall's, will be given as dowry to Cordelia who does not, as yet, have a residence or an estate. Lear plans to continue living in this, his old familiar home. As he declines with age he 'thought to set my rest on her kind nursery' with Cordelia ensuring he will be cared for during her long absences in France. But he has not declined as yet, neither mentally nor physically, despite his eighty years. While he is still fit and well he can teach the inexperienced Cordelia how to govern and protect her state. Cordelia will need to spend most of her time in France attending to her royal duties as Queen. When children are born to her she will have no choice but to remain almost exclusively in France. Lear, of course, will not accompany Cordelia to the French court. To do so would result in Lear being dragged around France as a trophy of the King of France, a quite ludicrous consideration. Whenever Cordelia is absent in France, Lear will administer her state. Although retired, it is appropriate that he will 'still retain the name, and all the additions to a king' to give him the authority to fulfil this role. Lear has been running the country with the help of his 100 knights. Lear's knights will be as loyal to Cordelia as they have been to him and this will give her an instant power base and form the nucleus of her administration.
STOP PRESS Modern equivalents of Lear's strategic plans
Lear's map for the division of Britain