In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet’s tragic flaw is his procrastination. From the first time Hamlet was acted until now, critics have fought over the reason for Hamlet’s procrastination. Some say that the cause is due to Sigmund Freud’s theory that Hamlet has an “Oedipal Complex,” which is his love for his mother. Others argue that he just never finds the right time to carry out the revenge of his father’s murder. The Oedipal Complex theory in regard to Hamlet’s situation seems more likely because of the amount of times Hamlet has to kill Claudius but always fins a reason not to kill him. If it is not the case, then the cause of the procrastination remains a mystery. There is no reason for Hamlet not to kill Claudius, whom he hates, and was ordered by a higher power to destroy, other than the fact that subconsciously, Hamlet needed Claudius to keep him away from his mother.
Hamlet procrastinated only because of his fear of intimacy with his mother, knowing that Claudius was the only person separating he and Gertrude. Although Hamlet has a pious duty to avenge his father’s murder, his desire for his mother is too strong for him to leave an open pathway to her. He tries to find excuses to postpone his killing Claudius. First, he tries to discover whether or not Claudius really did kill King Hamlet, which gives him some time. After he has convinced himself that Claudius is to blame, he attempts to murder him just twice. The first time, he finds Claudius praying, and uses that as a scapegoat so he can again put off his pious duty. Later when he is alone with Gertrude, he thinks that Claudius is behind the curtains, and kills the man there. Unfortunately, Polonius becomes the victim of Hamlet’s dagger.
The only time when Hamlet does not hesitate to carry out his pious duty is when he is in the bedroom with Gertrude. Unfortunately by mere coincidence, Polonius is the man behind the bedroom curtain, not Claudius. Hamlet stabs Polonius instinctively because he is where he truly desires to be, with his mother. This is the only time when Hamlet actually has the courage to try to kill Claudius, thus opening the path to Gertrude. All of the other times in the play, Hamlet is either alone or with people who he needs to hide his desire from.
Comparing Brave New World and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is more relevant today than George Orwell’s 1984. Although both of the two totalitarian societies are based on plausible premises, the Utopia depicted in Brave New World still has a chance of appearing today, while the Big Brother-dominated society created by Orwell, being based to some extent on the totalitarian societies that existed at the time of the book’s inception, is simply obsolete.
Brave New World remains more believable in modern times because the events that led up to the creation of Huxley’s Utopia have the greater chance of occurring tomorrow. In both novels, the birth of the totalitarian society is brought on by a catastrophic war that probably involves the entire world. However, in 1984, the war is in the process of being fought, giving the reader the impression that somewhere in this world, there is still a non-totalitarian government which could defeat Orwell’s nightmarish police state. In Brave New World, the war that preceded the creation of Utopia has long since passed; it often appears as though Utopia has always existed. This makes it much more believable than Big Brother, especially since it seems more likely to occur when the world is at peace. Also, the war depicted by Brave New World contains technology that seems particularly significant in modern times. In Utopia, Western Europe Controller Mustapha Mond mentions that the war preceding the inception of their society was fought using Anthrax Bombs. Because biological weapons have become more common part of military arsenals in recent years, readers of Brave New World have more reason to believe that its version of the war that starts the rise of totalitarianism could happen today. Finally, 1984 …
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… in Huxley’s Brave New World, is more universal and more relevant to modern society than 1984’s Big Brother. While both Utopia and Big Brother are equally plausible versions of a future society, the two were brought into existence by different preceding events. Also, Big Brother has a faint historical basis: Orwell meant for it to reflect the totalitarianism of the communist governments that existed in his era. Huxley gives no indication in Brave New World whether Utopia echoes a particular totalitarian society in real history, allowing it to remain plausible in an era when the brutal Communist regimes that existed in Orwell’s time are virtually gone. Finally, Big Brother ensures its dominance by inflicting pain on dissidents while Utopia uses pleasure. Utopia, therefore, would stay in power more easily because pleasure is a more effective method of control than pain.