Plot Summary, King Lear

King Lear, a dotty 80-year-old ruler of ancient Britain, announces that he will retire from the throne and divide his kingdom among his three daughters: Goneril, Regan and Cordelia. The foolish, self-centered old man declares (in Act I, Scene I) that the daughter who loves him the most will receive the biggest share of his property. Then he will live with each daughter in turn, one month at a time. The avaricious Goneril declares that her love for her father knows no bounds:
Sir, I love you more than words can wield the matter;
Dearer than eye-sight, space, and liberty;
Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare;
No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour;
As much as child e'er loved, or father found;
A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable;
Beyond all manner of so much I love you. (1. 1. 39-45)
.......Equally avaricious Regan says Goneril comes up short, declaring, “I am alone felicitate / In your dear highness’ love” (1. 1. 59-60). Much pleased, Lear asks his favorite daughter, Cordelia, what she can do to win the richest share of his kingdom. She replies, “Nothing, my lord” (1. 1. 72). Surprised and disappointed, Lear presses Cordelia, the only daughter who truly loves her father, to speak up for herself. But she says,  
Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty
According to my bond; nor more nor less. (1. 1. 76-78)
.......Angry now, Lear warns her to “mend your speech a little, / Lest it may mar your fortunes” (1. 1. 79-80). But Cordelia stands fast, refusing to take part in the foolish contest. Consequently, Lear disowns her and divides his property between Goneril and Regan. The Duke of Kent, long a loyal friend of the king, advises Lear that his action is rash and foolish and asserts: “Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least” (1. 1. 142). Lear warns him to hold his tongue. Kent—believing himself honor-bound to point out Lear’s folly—says, “I’ll tell thee thou dost evil” (1. 1....