Tragedy: Shakespeare's Hamlet and Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

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In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare and the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the objective is to divulge the quintessence of humanity. Although the protagonists in both works of literature have drastically different journeys that lead to climactic endings, the use of plot is to demonstrate that the essence of mankind is ultimately a tragedy if great care is not taken. Both Hamlet and Jay Gatsby are unable to focus on the reality of the situation, and rather waste valuable time focusing on simply the appearance of things. However, Hamlet is a character completely consumed by despair and ultimately believes that life is futile. In contrast, Gatsby is a character who is rather obsessive of achieving the American Dream, …show more content…

From the very beginning of the play, Hamlet’s character is very disconsolate and suspicious of false images, even those within himself. Instead of acting rather spontaneously and avenging his father, he stops to consider that perhaps “the spirit that I have seen / may be the devil: and the devil hath power / to assume a pleasing shape” (2.2.596-597). Instead of blindly believing the ghost, who his dear friends also see, he keeps believing that the devil “out of my weakness and my melancholy… / abuses me to damn me” (2.2.599-601). Hamlet not only applies this theme of a false visage on himself, but on the rest of the court. He utilizes the comparison of the people around him to be like the sun, which he describes as a “majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears / no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent / congregation of vapours” (2.2.301-303). Hamlet feels that the people around him put on a façade of that they are something much better, rather bright and shining like the sun, when in reality they carve a false picture of themselves by their own will and deception. Hamlet is an individual whose description is oft boasting of his natural intelligence and intuition, but he often over analyzes the simplest of things and loses his true purpose. Jay Gatsby is a man, albeit similar to Hamlet, who at first seems to be impossible to define. Wherever he goes the party often follows him, while at the same time, he gives off a sense of uncertainty. Gatsby

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