"King Lear" and Parallel Plot - crucial for the play?


Literature can be expressed using many different techniques and styles of writing, some very effective and others not as much. One of the methods chosen by many is the use of so called "parallel" plots. "Parallel" plots, or sometimes referred to as minor, give the opportunity of experiencing a secondary storyline going along with the main plot that otherwise would be unmentioned. William Shakespeare shows excellent use of a parallel plot in his play "King Lear", but some question it's essentiality by asking: Is it really necessary? Does it help the story or does it degrade it? Is the Gloucester's plot really needed? Many argue that it is very important and others say it is completely useless. This essay will try to prove that the parallel plot used in "King Lear" is needed and it adds to overall value of the play.
Like any other kind of literature "King Lear" contains many themes; one of which is the "parent-child relationship" conflict. Relationship problems are very common, not only in novels but also in everyday life. Lear starts the entire dilemma of hate and destruction by his foolish desire for flattery. He divides his kingdom between two of his daughters and the never ending crave for power and wealth begins. As we can assume from the play's title, Lear and his daughters are part of the main plot. The plot of Gloucester and his sons, is considered parallel.
Gloucester is portrayed also with family problems. He experiences trouble with his two sons, Edgar and Edmund. This parallel plot that ties in with the main one sometimes actually comes into unison and characters interact with each other.
The parallel plot can be taken into account as a "back-up" or "supporting" one. It proves the point Shakespeare is trying to make in his main plot. Gloucester's problems can be compared with Lear's and similarities can be found very easily. Both fathers have serious difficulties with their children. We can even say that Gloucester's plot acts as an "echo" since it repeats some of the events which took place earlier, only it uses different characters and settings.
The theme of craving for power is also found in both plots. Goneril and Regan can be said to be cold and evil judging from the irrational actions they took to gain the materialistic possessions. Edmund's character cruises along the same tracks - "power and wealth is the goal". All three have disrespected their father and caused major destruction to the family.
Shakespeare's use of Gloucester's plot in the play gives the reader opportunity to experience the dilemmas and their answers not just once, but twice. The reader can catch up on any previously overlooked points even though different characters and situations are presented.

The parallel plot also allows the story to be more eventful, more dramatic and tragic. There are more characters introduced and length of the play increases. The original story would be much shorter and duller. By using the extra plot, more action is allowed and more interest may arise from the reader or audience. Also the play becomes more realistic when the scene is filled with people and everyone has various assignments. The story becomes deeper and more enjoyable.
Even though Gloucester and Lear interact with each other in the play, they are considered two different plots. Without the minor plot, the play would not get as much detail and the point would not be proven as effective as it is. The ideas would not be passed through as they were accomplished with the use of it. The play gains a lot through the addition of the minor plot and is considered excellent.
As we can see from the above arguments, the parallel plot is really essential in the play and ignoring it would be negligent. It is a very important part of "King Lear" and it serves a great purpose. If William Shakespeare ignored the plot in the first place, his point would not be passed through at the level it is passed on now. I am sure Shakespeare knew it very well that Gloucester's character and actions help to understand the play better and improve it. The answer to many who question the parallel plot and it's presence is simple. The plot