Shakespearean Double Plot in King Lear

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Shakespeare’s use of two plots in a single play is an important literal structure that appears in several of his works. However, his play King Lear is the most important work that provides evidence of this literal structure. Arguably, despite criticisms that Shakespeare confused his audience with more than one plot in the same story line, it is evident that he evokes a clear connection or link between the story of the relationship between Edgar and Gloucester and the story of Lear and Cordelia (Elton 267). In this play, Shakespeare introduces the audience to the two similar stories of two fathers; Lear and Gloucester, who disown their loyal offspring due to the manipulation by their evil children (Halio 27). Both fathers are under the control of their treacherous and ambitious sons who attempt to use their parents’ fallibilities to make material gains. Using similarities in character, themes and literal language, Shakespeare makes the two story lines complement each other, thus avoiding confusion (Elton 267). First, Shakespeare introduces the blinding of King Lear, which is reflected as a physical equivalent to the physical blindness affecting Gloucester. While King Lear is used to present the higher level of human nature, Gloucester is a direct representative of the lower nature of humanity that is quite far from divine. Gloucester commits a physical sin that leads to his punishment through physical blinding. Although King Lear does not commit a physical sin, he makes an intellectual mistake that ultimately causes the loss of his sanity. Nevertheless, the two aspects reflect each other as double plots (Elton 269). The duality of human nature is reflected using the double plot structure in the play. At the start of th... ... middle of paper ... ...ed your power…” Similarly, King Lear says, “…expose yourself and feel what the poor people feel…” In this case, the words “superfluous” and “super flux” are used to mean the wealthy or nobles (Cameron 94). In this analysis, it is evident that Shakespeare has used two storylines to develop the same meaning. Gloucester’s story reflects the story of Lear. Although it is expected that the use of double lines would confuse the audience, Shakespeare successfully evokes a clear connection or link between the two stories because the structuring and events within are similar. Works Cited Cameron, Lloyd. King Lear, by William Shakespeare. Washington, DC: Pascal Press, 2010. Print. Elton, William. King Lear and the Gods. Kentucky: University of Kentucky Press, 2012.print. Halio, Jay. King Lear: A Guide to the Play. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2011. Print.
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