Common Themes In Hamlet And Judith Guest's Ordinary People

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Does age really matter? Many students, and even adults of the 21st century argue that there is no meaning behind studying books and plays dating back to the 1500’s, because the time during which they were written, is nothing like life as they know it. However, many of the themes, problems and struggles in plays and books of the renaissance era share a plethora of commonalities with the challenges and struggles today’s society faces. There are many common themes between Shakespeare’s play Hamlet and Judith Guest’s novel Ordinary People. The three major themes that the two literary works share in common are mental health, fate versus responsibility and family and a sense of belonging. The first theme that is prominent throughout both pieces is …show more content…
It is present commonly throughout the two pieces and it influences both plots massively. In Hamlet, Hamlet feigns madness after his father’s death and convinces his family and friends that he is truly mad in order to fulfill his responsibility to avenge his father’s death. By doing so, Hamlet was able to create himself a clear path to reach avengement without many obstacles interfering. Hamlet’s family frowned upon his madness and they tried to cheer him up through several methods none of which worked. Ultimately, they believed that the best way to deal with his madness would be to send him off to England to be killed. In the end, Hamlet’s antic disposition allowed him to avenge his father’s death which also lead him to his own death. In contrast, In Ordinary People, Conrad was truly in a poor mental state and he suffered from severe depression. His family also recognized that he was suffering from mental illness but their …show more content…
In both literary pieces, the protagonists’ families were torn apart by tragedy and by the end both families fell apart. In Hamlet, the Hamlet family was destroyed by the murder of King Hamlet. King Hamlet was a vital part of Hamlet’s life and he was looked up to dearly by Hamlet. When Hamlet learned of Claudius’s crime against his father, Hamlet was torn because he realized that he could no longer trust anyone in his own family and he lost his sense of belonging. Another reason for Hamlets loss of sense of belonging is the fact that neither his family nor friends offered him support through his darkest times. Although Hamlet was feigning madness, he was still unpleasantly surprised at the superficiality of those around him. Since no one wanted to help him other than Horatio, he had no true family and he didn’t belong anywhere or with anyone. The Jarretts from Ordinary People were also torn apart by a tragedy, but theirs was of natural causes. Due to the fact that Conrad idolized his older brother Buck, he was devastated by his death and thus, Conrad fell into a deep depression. Conrad was neglected by his own mother because Beth didn’t want to associate herself with anyone who was depressed because she claimed that it made her look bad. Although Conrad’s father really wanted to help him through his tunnel of darkness, he couldn’t do much because he

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