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Research paper example essay prompt: King Lear - 674 words
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King Lear 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 will not reverse his decision to split the dowry between them. They make a pact that states, "Pray you let's hit together. If our father carry authority with such disposition as he bears, this last surrender of his will but offend us." (Scene 1, Lines 304 - 306).
The daughters wished to keep their father at bay and stay in control. Both families are scheming to get or keep that which should not be theirs. 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. First there is Lear, whose fits and decisions are beginning to make people question his sanity. Although no one seems willing to confront the king for fear of the consequences, the fool knows no such bounds.
When the fool does confront him, Lear seems to be aware of it and responds by saying, "O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweat heaven! Keep me in temper; I would not be mad!" (Scene 4, Lines 44 - 45). Lear though aware of it can do little to stop or even slow it down. Now Gloucester, whose sanity may be more stable at the moment is definitely making poor decision and is not thinking clearly. In fact, he is blaming much of the trouble in the kingdom as of late, on such superstitious things as eclipses. He even mentions it to Edmund when he says; "These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us." (Scene 2, Lines 103 - 104). He is clearly bewildered and overwhelmed by the current events and is too disoriented to clearly evaluate things. Both men are not mentally well, which may lead to more bad decisions in the future.
These two families are essentially living out the same plot. Neither meeting yet, but even though the people are different, these two plots are too similar to not have some major underlying connection. The two plots must begin to intersect to complete the play. It will be the way that Shakespeare accomplishes this that makes or breaks this play.
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