This page contains links to the free original text of King Lear by Shakespeare.

The language used in Shakespeare’s day is slightly different from today’s modern English, which is reflected in the King Lear text. Our article on Shakespeare & early modern English, or our Shakespeare dictionary, will help you to understand the language as you read through the original text

Another thing to bear in mind as you read the King Lear text are Shakespeare’s stage directions, which are italicised. Stage directions are instructions and direction to the actors, and not spoken lines. Some stage directions can be a little confusing, so have a read of our understanding Shakespeare’s stage directions article.

The text of King Lear is very long, so we have separated the play into its original Acts and Scenes. Click on the appropriate links below to read Shakespeare’s original script of King Lear, or King Lear translated into simple, modern English:

King Lear in modern English | King Lear text
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Modern King Lear Act 1, Scene 1 | King Lear original text, Act 1, Scene 1
Modern King Lear Act 1, Scene 2 | King Lear original text, Act 1, Scene 2
Modern King Lear Act 1, Scene 3 | King Lear original text, Act 1, Scene 3
Modern King Lear Act 1, Scene 4 | King Lear original text, Act 1, Scene 4
Modern King Lear Act 1, Scene 5 | King Lear original text, Act 1, Scene 5
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Modern King Lear Act 2, Scene 1 | King Lear original text, Act 2, Scene 1
Modern King Lear Act 2, Scene 2 | King Lear original text, Act 2, Scene 2
Modern King Lear Act 2, Scene 3 | King Lear original text, Act 2, Scene 3
Modern King Lear Act 2, Scene 4 | King Lear original text, Act 2, Scene 4
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Modern King Lear Act 3, Scene 1 | King Lear original text, Act 3, Scene 1
Modern King Lear Act 3, Scene 2 | King Lear original text, Act 3, Scene 2

Read all of Shakespeare’s plays translated to modern English >>

Barry Rutter speaking from the King Lear text

Barry Rutter plays King Lear on stage, speaking from the King Lear text


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