Barabas And Hamlet Research Paper

Decent Essays
Christopher Marlowe is well known for his tragic Marlovian character, the morally ambiguous hero. Barabas of The Jew of Malta is a prime example. His character is greedy, ruthless, and the murderer of the citizens of Malta. Yet the audience still roots for this character as he commits sin after sin in the name of justice. He is ambitious and charismatic, and unjust circumstances earn him sympathy. Shakespeare, inspired by the idea of a villainous hero, creates a marlovian character with a twist. The character of Hamlet exhibits the same qualities of the Marlovian character, but lacks to drive to execute his revenge, as he deliberates on his own morality.
The forefront similarity between the characters of Hamlet and Barabas is their desire
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His ploy of madness is nothing but a delay of action. Hamlet is highly aware of the severity of the crime he is planning to commit and bides his time in taking any formal action. His hesitation comes from his awareness of his own moral ambiguity. Hamlet expresses contempt for his cowardliness but admits hesitation as the ghost, “may be the devil...perhaps out of my weakness and my melancholy, as he is very potent with such spirits, abuses me to damn me” (Shakespeare 2.2.628-632). With this he acknowledges the possible consequence on his soul for his crime. Once Hamlet gains the proof he hunted for of Claudius’ guilt, he continues with his excuses. Hamlet believes if Claudius is killed while he is praying his soul will be forgiven and go straight to heaven. The Danish prince claims “this is hire and salary, not revenge” (Shakespeare 3.3.84), therefore losing an uncomplicated opportunity to kill Claudius. Due to his hesitation throughout the play, enough time passes for a murder plot to be conspired against him. This leads to his ultimate downfall but also springs him into action. In the final scene, Hamlet has only moments to live and morality is no longer of value. Here he is at his most Marlovian, as he vindictively murders
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