Lear's and Gloucester's Responses to Filial Disobedience
In Act I, Scenes I and II, Lear and then Gloucester, respectively, experience their children’s ostensible (but in both cases, only ostensible) disobedience.
How do the two fathers’ responses differ?
Lear renounces Cordelia as his daughter, while Gloucester asks Edmund to seek Edgar out to ask him how the two might be reconciled.
Lear turns over his land to his two obedient daughters, while Gloucester determines to use Edgar’s inheritance as a pawn to regain his son’s obedience.
While both men disavow their children, Lear does so publicly while Gloucester does so through a letter he gives Edmund to give Edgar.
Lear impulsively disowns the most beloved of his daughters and divests her of her inheritance, while Gloucester takes Edmund’s “advice” to first seek out more proof that his son has conspired against him.
While both men divest their children of their inheritances, Lear’s decision is irreversible, while Gloucester remains open to the possibility that, if Edgar reforms himself, he can be written back into Gloucester’s will.