Compare Contrast Macbeth Hamlet Essay

Free Essays: Comparing Characters and Themes in Hamlet and Macbeth

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Parallel Characters and Themes in Hamlet and MacBeth


Throughout William Shakespeare’s plays Hamlet and Macbeth

there are many similarities, along with many differences. These plays

are both Shakespearean tragedies, which often use supernatural

incidents to capture the reader’s interest, and consists of a hero that

has a tragic flaw. There are many comparative and contrasting

aspects in these plays.


            The opening of Hamlet involves a supernatural, as does the

opening of Macbeth. In the first scene the ghost of his father, King

Hamlet, approaches Hamlet. Similarly, the opening of Macbeth

involves the three witches. Although the witches can be seen by

anyone they approach, the ghost of King Hamlet is only seen by

Hamlet himself, and in one scene by Marcellus and Bernardo,

Hamlet’s servants. Similarly in both plays, the main characters are

slightly suspicious of the actual powers these supernatural figures

have. As the witches use their apparent powers to tell Macbeth the

future, the ghost of King Hamlet tells Hamlet what has happened

already. Hamlet states in one of his soliloquies “The spirit that I have

seen / may be the devil” (2.2.598-599). Macbeth also has his doubts

because when the witches tell him that he will be named Thane of

Cawder, Macbeth himself had not known, but many people had. It is

possible the witches could have known. In the same matter in both

plays, the presentation of the supernatural began to lead to the final

downfall of each of the characters. In Macbeth, the three witches

cause him to think and do evil deeds. In Hamlet, if he had not seen

the ghost of his father, he would not have known that Claudius has

killed his father to claim the throne. In both instances the characters

gave into the nagging supernatural beliefs. And hence they lost their

lives.


Other characters in these plays show parallels in their plots.

Both plays have a main character that portrays the king of that

country. In Hamlet, the King of Denmark, Claudius is directly related

to Hamlet. He is his uncle, and also his mother’s new husband.

However, in Macbeth the King of Scotland, King Duncan, is not

directly related to the main character.

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Hamlet         Macbeth         William Shakespeare’s Plays         Many Similarities         Many Differences         Three Witches         Many People         Capture         Instances         Deeds        




Both plays do however, have

the main character killing off the king in order to get the throne, which

ultimately results in there own death. Horatio, in Hamlet and Banquo,

in Macbeth share the same loyalty to the main characters. In both

stories these friends are more skeptical of the supernaturals than the

main characters themselves. In a meeting with the witches, Banquo

challenges them to “Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear /

Your favours nor your hate” (1.3.60-61). In a scene where Horatio

and Hamlet witness the ghost, Horatio tries to keep Hamlet from

going with the ghost. He was even reluctant in the opening scene to

go with Marcellus to hear about the ghost.


            Some themes in the plays are also similar. The way that the

weeds and flowers illustrate good and bad in Hamlet is like the way

the birds do in Macbeth. This is also true of the fair and foul theme in

Macbeth and the indirections theme in Hamlet. In Macbeth, to the

weird sisters, what is ugly is beautiful, and what is beautiful is ugly.

Through the play fair appearances hide foul realities. This theme has

a lot in common with the theme in Hamlet where the appearance

varies from the reality. In contrast, one of the main themes in

Macbeth is Manhood, while in Hamlet it is frailty, and more

specifically, the frailty of women.


            It seems evident that Shakespeare used a strong, similar story

line in these two tragedies. Apparently Macbeth and Hamlet are

similar stories in numerous ways. These two plays seem different

because of the variation in story lines, but in fact are very similar due

to the parallel characters and themes.



Similarities And Differences Between Shakespeare´S Hamlet And Macbeth

Thanaydi Sandoval
AP Literature
Mrs. Hardy
11 February 2014
Macbeth vs. Hamlet
The Shakespearean playwrights Macbeth and Hamlet are both very well-known tragedies. They have many things in common but are different in some ways. Both plays involve greed but the characters are different. There are some characters that have the same qualities such as Hamlet and Malcolm who both killed for revenge. Macbeth and Hamlet are different in character even though they both killed. The tragedies are the same in that many people are killed but the reasons are very different. Macbeths need for power has caused him to lose control while Hamlets need for revenge causes him to lose his own life.
Both Hamlet and Macbeth fight for what they want and are eventually killed in the end. Something they have in common is that their journeys both start with something evil and spiritual. For example, Hamlet sees the ghost of his father in the beginning and Macbeth runs into the witches and their prophecies. These apparitions lead both of them to their horrible fates. They each have a relationship with supernatural occurrences. Macbeth acts upon the prophecies the witches give him and make him greedy for power. Hamlet feels obligated to follow the instructions of his father’s ghost. Hamlet and Macbeth both make choices that cause them to do evil and horrible things. They each end up killing a king. Macbeth seems to lose his morals because of the supernatural apparitions. Furthermore, both of their consciousness makes them second guess themselves and crazy. Their decisions make them and everyone around them mad. Lady Macbeth, for example, becomes mad because of her conscience and the evil deeds of her husband.
Another thing the plays have in common is that they both have characters that seem to go mad and lose control. While Hamlet is only acting to mislead Claudius, Macbeth’s desire and greed for more power makes him truly mad. In Macbeth, he kills the king, Duncan, so he can become the king. This shows that the play Macbeth is about greed, but Hamlet is about greed as well. In Hamlet, Hamlets uncle, Claudius kills his brother so that he can become king as well. Claudius poisons him and then marries Hamlet’s mother. Two characters that are also the same are Hamlet and Malcolm because they both kill for revenge. Hamlet wants to avenge his father’s death by killing...

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