How the Sub-Plot Mirrors the Main Plot in King Lear by William Shakespeare

How the Sub-Plot Mirrors the Main Plot in King Lear by William Shakespeare

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How the Sub-Plot Mirrors the Main Plot in King Lear by William Shakespeare

One can say that the sub plot does mirror the main plot to some
extent. Some are in subtle ways and some are in the more obvious ways.
Shakespeare has two plots in order to intensify the main theme of
tragedy that runs throughout this play. The main plot is in which King
Lear is the tragic hero however it is clear that just by misfortune he
is deprived of something very valuable to him by error of judgment and
this is immediately highlighted in the first scene of Act one where he
goes through a rapid transition of loving to hating his only truly
loyal daughter Cordelia. Disowning her because she refuses to
exaggerate her feelings for him, whereby she only says she loves Lear
as a daughter should love a father is his first major mistake and it
is mirrored in the sub plot through the actions of Gloucester. There
we see that he too immediately casts judgement on his loyal son Edgar
and disowns him as a result of manipulation by Edmund. Therefore
although overall it could be said that the two tragic heroes in this
play are King Lear and Gloucester, we see that in Act One Cordelia and
Edgar are characters to be sympathised with as they too are engulfed
in tragic circumstances.

The main way in which the sub plot mirrors the main plot is through
the tragedy that falls upon both King Lear and the Earl of Gloucester.
King Lear can be seen as a tragic hero because we as the audience
experience pity for him and feel that he does not deserve the severity
of his punishment. A tragic character must pass from happiness to
misery whereby he must be seen at the beginning of t...


... middle of paper ...


... born a bastard which
continuously haunts him, does what he does as an act against the whole
society. Therefore, Edmund’s driving force is to revolt against those
in power, against traditional values and against the very make-up of
society. He regards this revolution as a worthy cause, and his
scheming is aimed at putting himself in power, gaining the throne.

Therefore one can say that the sub plot very much mirrors the main
plot in terms of direct parallels that run among characters as well as
the main themes and it is used by Shakespeare in order to emphasise
the degree of tragedy in this play as well as evil’s triumph over
innocence and good and both plots particularly highlight the point, in
Act one, that “nothing comes from nothing”, thereby evil does not come
from nowhere, something always comes from something

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