Wisdom In King Lear By William Shakespeare And Tuesdays With Morrie By Mitch Albom

1416 words - 6 pages

Wisdom is a very valued and respected trait in our society and is associated with the elderly. In both King Lear by William Shakespeare and Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, the protagonists were able to acquire wisdom after undergoing trials and tribulations. However, both these men began their quest as completely different people, polar opposites even. Morrie always emphasized the value of family and love, while King Lear saw these as trivial pursuits which at best can be used to elevate his ego. Morrie was disappointed by the way things were in his society, while initially King Lear did not care too much for it and accepted it. Morrie viewed death as completely natural and even an ideal way to live, while King Lear still wanted to live the life of a king despite dividing his land between his daughters. Despite being very different in both character and beliefs initially, both King Lear and Morrie came to acquire true wisdom by experiencing a fact of life which we regard as a phenomena; death.
Both these wise men once differed in values when it came to life. Morrie believed that it was better to rather perish than to live a life without any love, as he was quoted to have said "If you don't have the support and love and caring and concern that you get from a family, you don't have much at all. Love is so supremely important. As our great poet Auden said "Love each other or perish""(Albom 91). This quote illustrates Morrie's views of love and is of the opinion that it is better to die than to live a life devoid of love. Although Morrie grew up without much love in his life, it was for this reason why he emphasized the importance of love and family. Conversely, King Lear believed that family only exists to serve his needs. Quoted from King Lear "Tell me, my daughters, Since now we will divest us both of rule, Interest of territory, cares of state Which of you shall we say doth love us most That we our largest bounty may extend Where nature doth with merit challenge?"(I I 47-53). This quote exemplifies King Lear's conviction of family. He pitted his daughters against each other for his personal benefit. His love was also conditional, even though Cordelia was his known favorite amongst his daughters, he warned her "How, how, Cordelia? Mend your speech a little, Lest you may mar your fortunes." (I I 94-95). This quote reinforces the fact that he believed that love in a family is unilateral, that is, he should only receive love but never give any. Contrarily, Morrie's love for his family was unconditional and a two-way street. However, Lear realized the true value of unconditional love when Cordelia returned despite after disowning and cursing her, but it was too late. While Morrie learned the value of love through the lack of it earlier in his life, King Lear would learn it through the death of his beloved daughter. Both would cherish family and life even more after coming to terms with death, and realize the ills of their respective societies.
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