A Comparison Between Hamlet And Othello
William Shakespeare is considered to be one of the most contributing writers in English literature. His way of writing usually focuses on the use of verse and prose. Hamlet and Othello are two of his most popular plays and are similar to each other in some aspects, tragedy being their basic theme. In Othello and Hamlet there are many forms of corruption and evil carried out by the characters.
He expresses different kinds of evil through interesting and creative ways. His style of writing enables the readers to view the action of the characters and see how lies and deceit lead to death and despair. The main similarity in the two plays is that the characters Lago from Othello and Claudius from Hamlet both appear to be someone else when in reality they are both dangerous and cunning and deeply evil although their methods may be different. Claudius is a jealous and confused character and Shakespeare shows this side of him many times in the play. On the other hand Lago is an insecure schemer who tries to create misunderstandings between Othello and his wife (Shakespeare 1993).In Othello, Shakespeare uses imagistic blank verse for the major characters and prose for the lowborn characters.
For the villain he uses a mixture of both which implies Lago's flexibility in masking his true colors and intentions from whomever he is speaking to. Shakespeare also stresses the change in situations as the play grows by changing the tone of language he uses. In the beginning Othello's language is consistent as he was a confident and noble man who was immensely in love with his wife, Desdemona. Later on as the play progresses (acts III and IV) Othello's language changes as he is manipulated by Lago to believe his wife was infidel. This causes Othello to become extremely jealous and his language there on becomes barbaric.
Othello is essentially an ironic play considering the wide divide that exists in what appears to be real to the characters in the play and what appears to be real to the theatre audience. He uses several devices to do this; most importantly he gave Lago the best language in the playwright's whole body of work. Hence Lago easily disguises his true intentions and appears to be an appealing and trustworthy person.In Hamlet Shakespeare, again through the use of language, portrays Hamlet's conflict of identity management.
There are two sides to him: one side is his insane behavior towards his family and the other side is his variance between deciding to do right or wrong based on what he has seen and heard. He uses poetic diction using powerful phrases. There is figurative language, imagery and irony used to create suspense all through the play. Like Othello, in Hamlet also Shakespeare shows disputes between characters, betrayal and misjudgment. He stresses again and again on how characters appear to be one person while inside they are another.
In the first act of the play Hamlet says to his friends"How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself,As I perchance hereafter shall think meetTo put an antic disposition on"(Act1. Scene5. Line58).Shakespeare lets his audience become aware of Hamlet's choice of disguising as a mad man, "antic disposition", in the first act of the play. He writes in a way through which the audience knows what is going on while the characters are still unaware of it.
Another way through which he shows the element of deceit and irony is when Claudius mourns the death of king Hamlet and claims to be very depressed about it while in reality he is the one who murdered him. Later on Hamlet tries to avenge his father's death many a times but moral dilemma causes him to fail.Another similarity between the writing styles for the two plays is the role of the protagonist: Othello and prince Hamlet. Both the protagonists are superior men possessing great courage.
But as the play grows Othello is consumed by jealousy while Hamlet by revenge. The difference between them is that Hamlet spends a lot of time thinking things over and analyzing the situation; while Othello is irrational and acts without thinking. Just like Hamlet, Othello is based upon the passions that drive the main character over the edge of insanity.
Shakespeare writes in a way by which we can see similarities between characters and the play as a whole, at the same time there are noticeable differences between the two.A common element in both the plays is that there is no definite end to them. Both the plays finish at a note of continuance. In Hamlet, Horatio promises the young prince that he will narrate the story of Hamlet to the world, since hamlet asks him to "And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain, to tell my story" (Act 5, scene 2). While in Othello, Cassio goes on to take his military position in Cyprus and Lodovico takes it upon him to return to Venice and relate the tragic story of what has happened to his countrymen. "Myself will straight aboard; and to the country state, this heavy act with heavy heart relate" (Act 5, scene 2).
From both these lines Shakespeare communicates that even though the plays have come to an end, the story still continues. There is more to the ending than just tragic deaths, the story will live one. It will be narrated to the world by those who witnessed it.Shakespeare's writings are often based on universal themes, like familial betrayal and how greed corrupts, as in the case of these two plays. He uses a lot of imagery and poetic dialogue; however he uses unrhymed lines mostly.
The use of blank verse in his writing is very common. Till date Shakespeare has one of the most unique writing styles.
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