King Lear By William Shakespeare Character Analysis Duke of Albany

As Goneril's husband, Albany grows in stature during the play and ultimately finds the strength to resist his wife's efforts to have Lear killed. Early in the play, Albany lacks the strength to stand up to his wife, and thus, he cannot control her. Albany is Goneril's opposite, gentle and kind to his wife's cruel and self-serving demeanor. But later, Albany's attack on Goneril's integrity demonstrates that Albany is a highly moral and humane individual, the antithesis of his wife.

Where Goneril has created chaos, Albany endorses nature's design and a view of nature's work within an organic framework. Albany accepts that nature's pattern is essential for survival. Early on, Albany hesitates to confront Goneril when he thinks she's wrong, but he is not the willing participant in evil that Cornwall is. Albany is genuinely shocked when he learns of Gloucester's blinding, while Cornwall easily succumbs to this depravity.

With a new resistance to his wife, Albany joins the ranks of characters who undergo dramatic change during the course of the play; he grows and evolves into a stronger and more compassionate individual by the end of the drama. Albany leads his army in defense of the kingdom, although with great reluctance. The audience witnesses his personal growth, and the culmination of change is clear when he assumes control of the kingdom following the battle's conclusion.

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