Comparing Shakespeare's 'King Lear' with Mitch Albom's 'Tuesdays with Morrie'
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Shakespeare's King Lear versus Tuesdays with Morrie
William Shakespeare's King Lear is a tragedy of a king who is unable to comprehend the truth of the human condition until he is stripped of his kingdom, family, and the basic components of human dignity. At the end of his existence, even the one person who he loved, his daughter Cordelia, is taken away. Similarly, Morrie Schwartz in the popular nonfiction book Tuesdays with Morrie does not fully come to terms with himself and what is valuable in life until he has been cruelly stripped of what makes his life meaningful by a chronic, terminal illness. Both Morrie and Lear do not gain full understanding until they lose everything.
"Thou art the thing itself:/unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor bare, forked animal as thou art. Off, off, you lendings! /come unbutton here" (III.4). At the height of his madness on the heath, Lear sees Edgar, who is in disguise as the madman poor Tom of Bedlam, hiding from his father. Lear, having been cast out by both of his daughters, is distraught and strips his clothes off as well. He finally understands the transience of human existence, and how that humanity is ultimately nothing but a naked animal, without all of the gaudy trinkets conveying power. Morrie similarly comes to despise the obsessions of the world, including the topics of celebrity journalism that his student Mitch focuses upon, as meaningless. "The truth is . . . once you learn how to die, you learn how to live,"