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Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Question 1. A comparison of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Oedipus by Sophocles reveals a number of similarities in plot and characters. In both plays the conflict revolves around themes of love, duty and revenge. Both plays raise a question of responsibility for a crime committed out of revenge. In both plays the conflict is initiated after a murder committed by a close relative of the hero. Both Hamlet and Oedipus are blinded with their desire of revenge. Both come from implicit sense of dissatisfaction to concrete intentions after a voyage.

They manage to execute their intent; however, this costs ruination for both. In the moral sense, Hamlet and Oedipus believe that they are punishing the evil, yet to punish the evil they have to become evil themselves. Throughout both plays, dark feelings gradually penetrate into the hearts of Hamlet and Oedipus, although both are virtuous by nature. Their minds and souls are poisoned with vice. Their material triumph ends with moral defeat and eventually leads both to fatal ending. In both plays the ending is a symbolic purification of the world from evil which occurs as a result of sacrificing the innocent.

Question 2. Thus Spake Zarathustra by Nietzsche has certain common themes with Aeneid by Virgil. Zarathustra and Aeneas are existential heroes, although Zarathustra has already reached the point of his existence, while the Aeneid is a story a character on his way towards overcoming human nature and becoming a superior human being. Thus, Zarathustra journey is a journey of a wise man on the way of teaching and Aeneas’s journey is a journey of a person in search of own fate. Zarathustra calls to his disciples: “Man is something that shall be overcome.

What have you done to overcome him? ” What Aeneas does to overcome his nature is leaving Dido and her plentiful land for new endeavor. This turns Aeneas from a runaway adventurer into a hero and a founder of the new Empire. Zarathustra says: “all beings so far have created something beyond themselves”. Aeneas creates something behind himself when he arrives to Italy to become a founder of Rome. Question 3. The particular problem of Dostoyevsky’s Notes From the Underground is character’s concern about corrupted human nature.

People are likely either to suffer pain or to rebel against it, yet this rebellion always makes them bring their pain to the others. Character’s desire of revenge ends with his ridiculous meeting with an officer, demonstrating that the nature of the character is too weak for a rebellion. Yet he does impose his pain to Lisa. His existence proves to be useless and harmful for the others. What makes the character similar to Oedipus is involuntary causing pain to the others. What makes him similar to Hamlet is fruitless struggle to revenge for his grievances making the character ill-natured.

What makes him similar to Zarathustra is the idea of purifying act, which is likely to bring him to a new level of existence. Yet their ways are different. Oedipus, Aeneas, Hamlet and Zarathustra manage to raise over their nature while Dostoyevsky’s hero masochistically enjoys “the very feeling of his own degradation possibly”. Question 4. We need all these tragic stories to get an idea of our own vices and crimes, even those are not committed, but only intended or dreamed.

A sense of every tragedy (most notably revealed in Hamlet and Notes From the Underground is a symbolic catharsis from evil. The authors give a warning to their audience pleading people to avoid evil. To persuade the audience, they use an example of their characters ruined by their dark thoughts and actions. Humans appear in different conditions in the cases when they avoid evil and when they deal with the evil Dealing with evil makes them evil themselves, even though they are good by their original nature.

In this sense, Aristotle is obviously right. By sympathizing the characters and experiencing their story during the play we are purified ourselves. Bibliography: 1. Sophocles, Fagles R. , MacGregor B. , Knox W. (1984) The three Theban plays. Penguin Classics; 2. Shakespeare W. Barnet S. (1998). Four great tragedies: Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth. Signet Classic; 3. Nietzsche F. , Kaufmann F. , Common T. (1997). Thus spake Zarathustra. Wordsworth Editions; 4. Dostoyevsky F. (1992). Notes from the underground. Courier Dover Publications

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