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Free Essays: Comparing Characters and Themes in Hamlet and Macbeth

Parallel Characters and Themes in Hamlet and MacBeth

Throughout William Shakespeare’s plays Hamlet and Macbeth

there are many similarities, along with many differences. These plays

are both Shakespearean tragedies, which often use supernatural

incidents to capture the reader’s interest, and consists of a hero that

has a tragic flaw. There are many comparative and contrasting

aspects in these plays.

The opening of Hamlet involves a supernatural, as does the

opening of Macbeth. In the first scene the ghost of his father, King

Hamlet, approaches Hamlet. Similarly, the opening of Macbeth

involves the three witches. Although the witches can be seen by

anyone they approach, the ghost of King Hamlet is only seen by

Hamlet himself, and in one scene by Marcellus and Bernardo,

Hamlet’s servants. Similarly in both plays, the main characters are

slightly suspicious of the actual powers these supernatural figures

have. As the witches use their apparent powers to tell Macbeth the

future, the ghost of King Hamlet tells Hamlet what has happened

already. Hamlet states in one of his soliloquies “The spirit that I have

seen / may be the devil” (2.2.598-599). Macbeth also has his doubts

because when the witches tell him that he will be named Thane of

Cawder, Macbeth himself had not known, but many people had. It is

possible the witches could have known. In the same matter in both

plays, the presentation of the supernatural began to lead to the final

downfall of each of the characters. In Macbeth, the three witches

cause him to think and do evil deeds. In Hamlet, if he had not seen

the ghost of his father, he would not have known that Claudius has

killed his father to claim the throne. In both instances the characters

gave into the nagging supernatural beliefs. And hence they lost their


Other characters in these plays show parallels in their plots.

Both plays have a main character that portrays the king of that

country. In Hamlet, the King of Denmark, Claudius is directly related

to Hamlet. He is his uncle, and also his mother’s new husband.

However, in Macbeth the King of Scotland, King Duncan, is not

directly related to the main character.

Free Hamlet Essays: The Great Actor in Hamlet

The Great Actor in Hamlet

Hamlet is sane, not insane. He is putting on an act making people think that he is really insane when he is really just acting. Hamlet was ordered to avenge his fathers death by his father’s spirit. The spirit told Hamlet that how he died. The spirit said that he was sleepong in his garden when the uncle came and poured poison into his ear. The spirit told Hamlet to avenge his death by killing his uncle. Hamlet wanted to prove that his uncle really killed his father. His uncle married his mother shortly after the murder of Hamlets father. I think Hamlet is crying inside beacuse he suspects what really happened.

People think Hamlet is insane but he is really only acting. After Hamlet has spoken to the ghost, and Horatio and Marcellus find him, emotionally disturbed he says, “As I perchance hereafter shall think meet to put an antic disposition on… to note that you know aught of me–this do swear”. (Act 1, scene 5, line 191-192, 201) This means if I (Hamlet) act crazy in the future, don’t take it seriously, I am just acting. Hamlet acting crazy will help him prove that his uncle indeed killed his father.

Hamlet wanted to know if what his father’s spirit told him about his uncle killing his father was true, so he got the best actors he could find and reenacted what he though the death of his father was like, to see what his uncle’s reaction would be. When he saw his uncle storm out of the room he knew it was true. If he were insane he could not have thought of such a good plan to “catch the conscience of the King” (Act 2, scene 2, line 634).

Hamlet wanted the king to think he was insane. The king did think Hamlet was insane. The King talking to Rosencranz and Guildenstern says, “something have you heard of Hamlet’s transformation, so call it, sith nor th’exterior nor the inward man resembles that it was.” (Act 2, scene 2, lines 4-7). Hamlet wanted the king to think he was insane because he didn’t want the king to interfere with his plan to find out if he really killed his father. He acted insane because he knew if he did the king would stay out of his way and he would have time to put his plan into operation.

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