Macbeth And Hamlet Analysis

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William Shakespeare is, perhaps, the greatest literary mind in history. His works, being largely commissioned by royalty and enjoyed by the public, also contain some meanings and interpretations that are topics of widespread debate. This confusion in the minds of readers and scholars is extremely prominent in two of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, Macbeth and Hamlet. In both plays, the titular character faces a wide array of choices. The protagonists respond in methods connected by their shared roots in deception. Both Macbeth and Hamlet wear masks to mislead the characters around them in their own quests to fulfill their destinies. Because of these blurred lines regarding what is real and what is not, interesting assertions regarding life…show more content…
It also contains what is perhaps his most famous line: “To be or not to be: That is the question” (III, i, 56). In this play, Hamlet is conflicted throughout pretty much the entirety of the action. This uncertainty leaks over into the plot of the play as well as the mind of the reader. Unlike Macbeth, this play does not spell out the deceptive actions of its main character. While Macbeth plainly states in asides and dialogue with his wife that he is planning to mislead other characters, Hamlet does not openly speak of his tricks. One of the most intriguing and puzzling parts of the play is Hamlet’s antic disposition that he speaks of in the first act: “As I perchance hereafter shall think meet/ To put an antic disposition on” (I, v, 171-72). Even by the end of Hamlet, a lot is left unclear. While the topic of Hamlet’s antic disposition has arrived at somewhat of a general consensus, certain details regarding his “madness” are fuzzy to say the least. Many things, such as the legitimacy of the ghost of Hamlet’s father and his message for Hamlet, Gertrude’s knowledge of Claudius’s actions, and Hamlet’s hesitancy to avenge his father’s murder remain topics for debate. All of these unanswered questions and internal conflicts in the life of Hamlet can serve as a major source of confusion for a reader, but they contribute to the theme of the play. Hamlet’s antic disposition is not simply about his mask of madness, but about what it…show more content…
These little details and parts of life are generally known as universal Truths. Truths completely transcend time, and adapt as the world does. These Truths include things such as art, music, love, and, of course, literature. In two of the most popular and important plays from one the greatest literary contributors of all time, several elements of Truth are addressed simultaneously. In both plays, the most prominent overarching theme is “appearances versus reality.” Both protagonists attempt to utilize deception for their own personal gain, and it leaves the reader to wonder what can be trusted. In life, humans often face similar problems, as most people put on masks for the world while hiding their true intentions and personalities. Another idea is also referenced in these plays, as Macbeth’s dying speech contains the phrase: “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player/ That struts and frets his hour upon the stage/ And then is heard no more” (V, v, 24-26). The main idea of Macbeth’s quote is extremely melancholy, as he arrives at the conclusion that life is a tale that signifies absolutely nothing. This statement, though it may be hard for humans to accept, is a beacon of Truth. The knowledge that time on Earth is limited, and that each person can only play their part is humbling to say the

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