Hamlet vs Macbeth Essay
One of Shakespeare’s more brilliant talents was introducing his characters. Two of the best introductions and developments are represented in Macbeth and Hamlet. The protagonists Macbeth and Hamlet have exceptionally different introductions and conclusions of their plots. However, the climax of their chronicle almost identical and leads them to their death. As they die the audience is left with a contrary perspective of these two protagonists than the beginning of the play. The way Shakespeare introduces both Macbeth and Hamlet is essential to understand Shakespeare’s evolution of his plays through characterization.
When Macbeth is initially introduced as the play commences he is shown as a model person. “For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel, Which smoked with bloody execution, Like valor’s minion carved out his passage Till he faced the slave; Which ne’er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, Till he unseamed him from the nave to th’ chops, And fixed his head upon our battlements. (Act 1, Scene 2) ” There is endless praise for the faceless Macbeth so far. Shakespeare builds up the emotion and authority of Macbeth as he initiates his play.
He creates Macbeth into a role model someone that a prince would bow down to. He is presented to be brutal but full of honor. He seems comparable to Alexander the Great, a young, loyal, brutal, and admirable leader. Shakespeare does this buildup to start presenting and answering the question, who is Macbeth? So when Macbeth is introduced there is anxiety of his appearance and a immediate familiarity with him. Shakespeare enables the same technique when introducing Hamlet.
However he does not create adoration for him but more of pity. So have I heard and do in part believe it. But look, the morn, in russet mantle clad, Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastward hill. Break we our watch up, and by my advice, Let us impart what we have seen tonight Unto young Hamlet, for, upon my life, This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him. Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it, As needful in our loves, fitting our duty? (Act 1 Scene 1)” Shakespeare introduces Hamlet through other characters just like Macbeth, but instead of glorifying him he presents Hamlet as helpless.
It seems as if Horatio and Marcellus are only telling Hamlet of his father’s ghost as a sign of pity. Moreover Shakespeare delays Hamlets entrance. He introduces Hamlet as a overly grieving son. He doesn’t make Hamlet seem as the epitome of a man but as a boy. When Hamlet is introduced he is distant and an uninteresting character. However Shakespeare begins to evolve him through the play to make him an admirable character. As Macbeth progresses toward the end, Macbeth himself becomes a despicable character. He is considered a tyrant and a mere figment of his young celebrated self.
Now does he feel His secret murders sticking on his hands. Now minutely revolts upbraid his faith-breach. Those he commands move only in command, Nothing in love. Now does he feel his title Hang loose about him, like a giant’s robe Upon a dwarfish thief. (Act 5 Scene 2)” Shakespeare presents nostalgia in this scene as he reminds the audience of Macbeth’s former prowess. In the beginning, it was clear that a captain of Macbeth’s army would willingly give his life for the brave Macbeth. Now, soldiers obey Macbeth out of fear and would knife him in the back given the opportunity.
The true summarization of Macbeth’s current stature is summarized that he is a dwarf wearing a giants robe. Macbeth was praised as king and in his youth there was thought no one better. However, as time went on Macbeth’s fatal flaw was his bloodlust. The same brutality that made him a hero also made him the perfect tyrant. Shakespeare uses Macbeth’s guilt throughout the play to fuel his bloodlust and desire to maintain his status as a role model, which he does. As Hamlet reaches his death he morphs into a likeable and inspiring character.
Shakespeare has removed Hamlet’s pitiful aura and has replaced it with the aura that initially surrounded Macbeth, a honorable fighter. “No, faith , not a jot. But to follow him thither with modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it, as thus: Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust, the dust is earth, of earth we make loam—and why of that loam, whereto he was converted, might they not stop a beer barrel? Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay, Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.
Oh, that that earth, which kept the world in awe, Should patch a wall t’ expel (Act 5 Scene 1)” This shows Hamlet’s evolution and presents a comparison of Hamlet to Alexander the Great. It shows a symbol of bravery as Shakespeare alludes a comparison of Hamlet to Alexander. Specifically he is showing that Hamlet does not fear death. Hamlet presents himself as wise and courageous as he calmly claims that even the best of men will be turned to dust. Hamlet shows a opposite demeanor than his original thought of death were it was an end and hopeless.
While this saying by Hamlet can be interpreted as pessimistic, it seems more as if it was to claim that death is nothing to be feared, which foreshadows his upcoming end. Macbeth has one moment were his demeanor does change. His personality goes from being admirable to despicable. “But Macbeth is. A good and virtuous nature may recoil In an imperial charge. But I shall crave your pardon. That which you are, my thoughts cannot transpose. Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell.
Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace, Yet grace must still look so. Act four scene 2)” This moment compares Macbeth to Lucifer. It shows the downfall of Macbeth, who up until this point had been a likable character. Shakespeare creates energy around Macbeth making him the center of good fortune. Shakespeare shatters Macbeth’s reputation and likeability by making him commit the heinous crime of slaughtering Macduff’s family. Once the murders are complete Macbeth essentially never stops seeing traitors, eventually turning on Banquo and having his own country disdain him. Hamlet’s turning point is much simpler and a much more famous one.
To be, or not to be? That is the question—Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,And, by opposing, end them? To die, to sleep—No more—and by a sleep to say we endThe heartache and the thousand natural shocksThat flesh is heir to—’tis a consummationDevoutly to be wished! To die, to sleep. To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub,For in that sleep of death what dreams may come(Act 3 Scene 1)” At this moment Hamlet decides on either courageousness or escape.
He poses the one escape left to him, death. If he dies all the pain and suffering brought by hid mother and uncle would disappear. Shakespeare uses Hamlet to represent fearful emotions. He wants to summarize the moment of transition from adolescence into adulthood. He makes sure to emphasize that Hamlet does not willingly accept his task but he does it because it needed to be done. This essentially is the end of the pitiful Hamlet and the beginning of the hero Hamlet. Both Hamlet and Shakespeare have prime examples of the evolution of a character determining the course if a story.
For Macbeth it is his transformation into a tyrant that fuels his story. Hamlet’s quest for revenge requires that Hamlet himself grows up. Macbeth is more successful at the evolution of the character because it is traceable. Macbeth’s storyline can be followed completely and it can be understood why he did everything he did. Hamlet on the other hand is more about Hamlet’s deception of his mother. Even though Hamlet and Macbeth are two very different characters Shakespeare employs the same tactics in their evolution in order to fuel the transition of his story.