Gatsby and Hamlet Essays

2219 Words Jan 30th, 2013 9 Pages
Examining Hamlet and The Great Gatsby

1/9/13

According to Roger Lewis, “The acquisition of money and love are both part of the same dream, the will to return to the quintessential unity that exists only at birth and at death” (41). In both William Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, the protagonists are willing to sacrifice all that they have in order to achieve their unrealistic objectives and ambitions, resulting in their tragic demises. While there are many themes and concepts relevant to both Hamlet and The Great Gatsby, their parallels regarding their aspirations stand out for further evaluation. The concept of sacrificing all that a person has, not limiting to their own life, is ever
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Jay Gatsby spends years of his life involved in illegal activity in order to accumulate enough wealth to be able to throw many parties, all for a possible chance to see his love once lost, Daisy. In this, both Jay Gatsby and Prince Hamlet are willing to sacrifice all that they have, not limited to themselves, in order to achieve their unrealistic goals. In comparison, Hamlet is content with altering his life and his current relationships, all for the sake of being closer to his ultimate goal, vengeance for his father.
“Hamlet lacks faith in G-d and himself. Consequently he must define his existence in terms of others... He would like to become what the Greek Tragic hero is, a creature of situation. Hence his inability to act, for he can only ‘act’”, i.e., play at possibilities” (Auden, W.H)

Hamlet is willing to act mad, ruining all of his relationships, not limited to his romantic life, for a futile opportunity to get close enough to Claudius to kill him. Although both Jay Gatsby and Prince Hamlet are willing to sacrifice all for their aspirations, Gatsby puts on a false front, while Hamlet covers his; Gatsby pulls a facade as though he had been wealthy throughout his entire life, while Hamlet feigns insanity. Gatsby has attempted to pull a facade of him having always been wealthy, thus allowing him to be part of Daisy's circle. Gatsby claims to have inherited his vast sum, hiding that he had actually self accumulated it over the years. By

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