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
It will be the way that Shakespeare accomplishes this that makes or breaks this play. Those two decisions are both equally unfair to their own favored offspring. Both men are not mentally well, which may lead to more bad decisions in the future. Scheming is the next parallel plot line involved in King Lear. The daughters wished to keep their father at bay and stay in control. The last, but maybe the most important of the parallels between the two families, is that of Lear and Gloucester both being old and senile. Lear though aware of it can do little to stop or even slow it down. 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. 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. Now Gloucester, whose sanity may be more stable at the moment is definitely making poor decision and is not thinking clearly. Although no one seems willing to confront the king for fear of the consequences, the fool knows no such bounds.