Throughout the first Act of King Lear there is one overwhelming topic, which can not be overlooked. That is to say that the two main families in this play, Lears' and Gloucesters', are both following basically a parallel plot that is developing at different plains of existence. Those plains exist on an aristocratic ladder, Lears' family at the top and Gloucesters' family at the bottom. There are different characters and minor diversities in each family, but at the basic level of events that occur, there is an unmistakable similarity between the lives of the two families involved in King Lear.
The first of the three key parallel plot lines in King Lear is in the decision making of Lear and Gloucester. Both of these men make very rash and important decisions in the first act that involve their offspring. First Lear, who after hearing his favored daughter's response to his dowry deciding question, responds; "Nothing will come of Nothing." (Scene 1, Line 93). By this he decides without any hesitation that his favored daughter, Cordelia, shall receive no dowry and thus be banished from the kingdom. Now almost mirror like, Gloucester makes an equally impulsive decision about his favorite son, Edgar. After reading a forged letter by his bastard son, Edmund, Gloucester decides that Edgar does want to kill him and decides that Edmund will instead receive his estate. Those two decisions are both equally unfair to their own favored offspring.
Scheming is the next parallel plot line involved in King Lear. Edmund as mentioned above is scheming to get his father's inheritance. He has made several references to this in his soliloquy in Scene 2, like when he said, "Edmund the base shall top the legitimate; I grow; I prosper." (Scene 2, Lines 20 - 21). He then forged a letter on his brother's behalf outlining the plans of Edgar to kill their father. Now in Lear's family, there is Regan and Goneril scheming to make sure that their father wil