The play revolves around the destruction of Lear and Gloucester’s families.

Both banish loyal children and reward the wicked ones with their inheritance.

Parental anxiety about their children’s love permeates the outlook of both men and they are both wracked with doubt, convinced they cannot rely upon the natural bond between them and their children.

The calamitous consequences for the kingdom of familial collapse are everywhere evident in the play. Families are not caring, supportive institutions. Brother pitted against brother, sister against sister. Mistrust, dishonesty and opportunism seem to dominate.