Shakespeare’s Royal Education

Shakespeare’s Royal Education

Shakespeare's Royal Education is built around the plays of William Shakespeare. Host Dennis Leap will focus on the plays that deal most with leadership and nation building.


Host Dennis Leap discusses Lear’s madcap trial of his evil daughters Goneril and Regan in Act III, Scene 6. The Fool and Kent are legal aides, and Edgar (still pretending to be Poor Tom) is the judge. During the trial against Goneril (who is not there), Lear’s descent into madness brings Edgar to tears and he fears being exposed. Back at his estate,Cornwall, Regan and Goneril put out Gloucester’s eyes and thrust him into the storm. Edgar finds his father blind and helpless and leads him to Dover where Gloucester wants to die. Cordelia also arrives in Dover with an army, a doctor and nurses to help her father Lear.

Host Dennis Leap discusses Act 3, Scene IV of King Lear. Loyal Kent and the Fool strive to protect Lear from the storm and descending further into madness. They lead Lear into a hovel where Edgar is still pretending to be Poor Tom. Gloucester finds them in the hovel, warns them that Lear’s daughters plan to kill Lear, and moves Lear, Kent, the Fool and Edgar (still playing poor Tom) into a dry place. Gloucester returns to his estate to get provisions for the king but does not return. Concerned, Edgar seeks out his father and discovers that Lear’s daughters have put out his eyes. Edgar remains disguised and helps his weakened father.

Host Dennis Leap discusses how Gloucester confides in his illegitimate son Edmund that he has received secret letters revealing that Cordelia and the King of France are landing at Dover to intervene on King Lear’s behalf in a civil war brewing between the dukes of Cornwall and Albany. Edmund betrays his father and informs the Duke of Cornwall in order to gain favor. Edmund is made Duke of Gloucester and wins his father’s estate. Cornwall, Regan and Gonneril torture Gloucester, gouging out his eyes and loosing him out of his estate in a storm.

Host Dennis Leap discusses how Lear’s and Gloucester’s evil children banish them from their lives. Act II, Scenes 3 and 4 show the wicked actions of Cornwall and Regan who push a heartbroken King Lear into a wicked nighttime storm, banishing him and his fool to a hovel in the wilderness.

Host Dennis Leap discusses the hateful disloyalty of King Lear’s lying daughters Gonneril and Regan. At the time of Lear’s ridiculous love test to divide the kingdom among his three daughters and their husbands, Goneril and Regan state that they love their father profusely. Yet Dennis shows their hatred for their elderly father.

Host Dennis Leap discusses the incredible loyalty Kent employs toward an outraged King Lear who banished him for giving wise council on why Lear should not banish his youngest daughter Cordelia. Dennis also explains that Shakespeare likely uses the character Kent to give King James I of England, formerly King James IV of Scotland, sagacious advice on how to connect with and win the support of the English aristocracy.

Host Dennis Leap gives a special lecture answering the question: Why did Shakespeare write the play King Lear? The answer shows how applicable this play is to today’s social, health and political news.

Host Dennis Leap discusses the role of the fool in Act I, Scene 4. The fool shows Lear in a humorous way how he made such bad decisions to give away his position as king and power to his daughters who actually hate him. My friend from England Richard reads the fool’s lines.

Host Dennis Leap continues his discussion on Shakespeare’s incredible tragedy King Lear. In this podcast, Dennis shows how Gloucester’s illegitimate son, Edmund, lays a trap to steal his legitimate brother Edgar’s legal rights to their father’s estate. He also shows how Lear’s daughter Goneril spurns her father by encouraging her manservant to dishonor and abuse Lear with the plan to force him to go to her sister Regan’s estate. Why? Goneril despises her father, and she and her sister intend to banish him from his family.

Host Dennis Leap discusses the controversy caused by Shakespeare’s play King Lear. A not-so-accomplished writer, Nahum Tate, took Shakespeare’s play and rewrote it to soften the tragic scenes and themes of the play. For a time this play completely replaced Shakespeare’s masterpiece. Tate’s play, titled “The History of King Lear,” was staged in 1985 at the Shakespeare Center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. A proof that modern audiences don’t want to face the tragedy caused by human nature.