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King Lear announces his plan to divide the kingdom among his three daughters. He explains how he will give up his responsibilities, but keep his title as King. He commands his daughters to tell him which of them love him most, and promises to give the greatest share to that daughter.
Lear's eldest daughters Goneril and Regan tell him that they love him no matter what, while his youngest and favourite daughter Cordelia says that she loves him exactly as a daughter should love her father. Lear is angered, and disowns Cordelia, only splitting the land between Goneril and Regan.
"I cannot heave My heart into my mouth. I love you Majesty According to my bond, no more nor less" (Shakespeare, 1.1.93-95).
Kent, Lear's nobleman, disagrees with the kings actions and tells him he's foolish for what he has done. Lear is enraged and banishes him, leaving him six days to leave the kingdom. Also, the King of France decides to marry Cordelia, because he is impressed by her honesty. She is sent away without Lear's blessing.
Edmund, who is the bastard son of Gloucester, reveals a soliloquy which states that he will remove anything that stands in his way of him receiving the privileges that he never had being born out of wedlock. He intends to take his legitimate brother Edmund's land and power. Edmund then forges a letter where it states that Edgar is planning his father's death.
"Now, gods, stand up for bastards!" (1.2.22).
After Gloucester reads the letter and falls for Edmund's story, Edmund goes to Edgar and tells him that Gloucester is very angry with him. He warns him to avoid him as much as possible.
Goneril tells Oswald to provoke Lear so she has a reason to evict him. She also prepares to write to her sister to tell her the plan.
"Put on what weary negligence you please" (1.3.13.).
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