One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Comparison to Hamlet

583 WordsFeb 22, 20182 Pages
Madness, Power, Rebellion, and Conformity are some of the many themes that prevail in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Hamlet both express similar messages of sanity vs. insanity, control, and compliance through their characters. There is a thin line between normal and abnormal as depicted in Kesey's and Shakespeare's work. One must ponder the question; is McMurphy mentally ill or is he just a schemer rebelling? The doctor commented, "...Don't overlook the possibility that this man might be feigning psychosis to escape the drudgery of the work farm...And what about that McMurphy?" (Kesey 46). The doctor in the mental hospital is telling McMurphy that many other patients and himself included aren't fully convinced of his insanity. Similarly, Hamlet's madness is up for debate. The only difference is that Hamlet pretends to be mentally unsound, but throughout the play one could argue he descends into madness. Queen Gertrude expands her thoughts of her son calling him "Mad as the sea and wind..." (Shakespeare 4.1.7). Hamlet pleads to his mother that he is sane but he must convince King Claudius otherwise. She responded with certainty that her son is far gone. McMurphy and Hamlet are both characters whose state of mind whether sane or insane, greatly influence the people surrounding them. Power and control are overbearing characteristics for some individuals in the works of literature. Claudius killed his own blood blood brother to gain the crown, kingdom, and

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