King Lear

Similar Themes in the Movie “King Lear” and “About Schmidt” Essay

January 16, 2022 by Essay Writer


The film that I consider to contain similar theme as the ones in King Lear film is the movie tilted About Schmidt. Some of the most noted themes in both the movies include justice, loyalty, family conflicts and power struggles. It is clear that both the film directors have used these themes in order to develop the plot of the respective movies and, at the same time, be in a position of expressing the ethical teachings to the respective viewers.

Similar themes in the movie King Lear and About Schmidt

The theme of power is directly explored in the film About Schmidt when the main character Warren R. Schmidt is so much determined in adopting a young Tanzanian boy (Ndugu Umbo), and thus, he makes sure that the young African boy receives the very best care that he can get, especially after he retires from his position as an actuary with a leading insurance company. The adoption of Ndugu Umbo is a sign that he tries to escape from the reality and accord himself some duties that will make him be in a position of power (Begley 40 -53).

While in the film King Lear, the theme power is depicted when the three daughters of King Lear struggle to appease their father King Lear in order to be in a position of taking over his kingdom. The three daughters, Cordelia, Goneril and Regan, compete amongst each other in order to be favored by their father to take over the kingdom (Danby 50).

Two daughters, Goneril and Regan, are wiling to do anything just to be named the next heir to the thrown, that is why they try to deceive their father by showing that they love him unconditionally, thus making King Lear foolishly make them his heirs leaving out his other daughter Cordelia who truly loves him (Foakes 89–90).

Another most notable theme in the two films is family conflicts. An example of family conflict as depicted in the film “king Lear” is the conflict between Lear and his daughter Cordelia, whom he does not like and wants to be close to after she is not in a position of not showing him that she loves him more than everything in the world. This makes him very furious with Cordelia to the extent of denying her a share in his kingdom and, at the same time, denouncing her as his own daughter (Ball 42).

Another incident of the family conflicts is the growing hate between the two sisters, Goneril and Regan, who are in love with the same man, Edmond, and thus, they have to use all the resources they have in order to win his affection. This eventually results in a major tragedy between the two sisters. In the second movie About Schmidt, family conflict is depicted in several occasions.

The first incident in the movie is at the funeral of Schmidt’s wife when his daughter accuses Schmidt of disrespecting her mother; this is by buying her mother a cheap casket (Begley 40 -53). The next instance of family conflicts is when Schmidt is discouraging her daughter, Jeanine, from marrying her fiancé Randall; this is because he thinks that the marriage between them will end up like the one he shared with his wife which was full of deceit.

Loyalty is also another important theme that is portrayed in the two films. But the sense of loyalty I have found in depicted movies is loyalty in a negative way, that is disloyalty. Cases of disloyalty in the movie King Lear is clearly portrayed when the two daughters of Lear (Goneril and Regan) pretend in front of their father that they are very loving and caring.

They do this so that their father could consider them as the next heirs of his kingdom. They successfully portray a trait, and thus, they end up inheriting the throne from their father (Lear) (Danby 50). In the film About Schmidt, 2002 cases of disloyalty are experienced.

The most notable incident is just after the death and burial of Schmidt’s wife when Schmidt is busy cleaning the room of his wife. He stumbles upon a pile of love letters that his wife had been receiving from her lover; this is a clear indication that his wife was not loyal to their marriage. This incident completely changes Schmidt’s perception of life, and thus results in him persuading his daughter not to marry her fiancé Randall because she might end up being betrayed by him in the marriage (Begley 40 -53).


The two films have expressed similar themes that are considered to be the most ideal in developing the stories, from the beginning, conflict and eventually to conclusion. The writers use a cast that properly exposes the different themes and eventually comes up with the most ideal stories, incidents of family conflicts.

Injustice, disloyalty and power struggle form the basis of these stories, and thus, the writers use these themes plus other minor ones in order to come up with the plot of the stories. It will eventually ensure that some ethical teachings are acquired by the respective viewers of the films.

Works Cited

Ball, David. Backwards & Forwards. Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press, 1983. Print.

Begley, Louis. About Schmidt. London: Arden, 1996. Print.

Danby, John. Shakespeare’s Doctrine of Nature: A Study of King Lear. London Oxford University Press, 1949. Print.

Foakes, Allan. King Lear. London: Arden, 1997. Print.

About Schmidt. Dir. Payne, Alexander. Prod. Michael Besman, Harry Gittes & Rachael Horovitz. DVD, 2002. New Line Cinema.

Read more