King Lear, the king of Britain, is the main character in the play. He splits his power among Goneril and Regan, the two of his three daughter that claim to love him the most, and banishes the daughter, Cordelia, who truly loves him. He is left to find the degree of his stupidity when he is betrayed by Goneril and Regan and stripped of all his power.
Goneril is Lear’s eldest daughter and the wife of the duke of Albany. She is selfish, jealous, and ruthless. She flatters her father by exaggerating her love for him order to inherit her share of the kingdom. She proves the extent of her wickedness as she slowly strips her father of his power, poisons her Regan, cheats on her husband, and makes plans to kill her husband. She ends up taking her own life.
Regan is King Lear's second daughter and the wife of the Duke of Cornwall. She is slighty more passive than Goneril. She is very easily perduaded by Goneril and her and her older sister form and alliance in order to bring their father down. Eventually their alliance is broken apart over their desire for Edmund.
Cordelia is the youngest of King Lear's three daughters. Although she is initially her father's favorite daughter he disowns her becuase of her inability to profess her love for him. Nevertheless, she is the only daughter that remains loyal to him. Cordelia is married by the King of France because of her kind and honest personality.
Kent is Lear's loyal and honest servant. In the beginning of the play King Lear banishes him for being honest. His statement that he shouldn't banish Cordelia and prediction that Regan and Goneral are not going to care for him are too much for the King to grasp. However, being the loyal servant that he is, Kent disguises himself as "Caius" so he can continue to serve Lear.
Gloucestor is a powerful nobleman and father of two, Edmund and Edgar. Like King Lear he is betrayed by his offspring. He lets his bastard son, Edmund, manipulate him into believing Edgar was against him. His blindness of his children's action is symbolized as he becomes literally blind himself. He is stripped of his power when he goes against orders and attempts to help King Lear.
Edgar is the son of Gloucester and brother of Edmund. He is manipulated and framed by Edmund for plotting his father's murder. He goes into hiding and disguises himself as "Poor Tom." When his father is blinded he helps him and guides him. However, he never reveals his true identity.
Edmund is Gloucestor's bastard son. Resentment over always beeing seen as less than his brother and an emberassment to his father because he was born out of wedlock motivates Edmund to turn his father against his brother.