“THE DEAD AMONGST THE LIVING”
IN HAMLET AND FRANKENSTEIN
William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet and Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein are challenging literary works that both have the same theme about the dead amongst the living. Both protagonists Hamlet and Victor Frankenstein endure hard times after their beloved father/mother dies. Victor’s mother and Hamlet’s father play a significant role in their upbringing. Therefore, their deaths bring to them inexpressible nostalgia for the past. Memories of their parents still linger in their minds. Both characters deal with the death of their family members in a similar way, which is Prince Hamlet and Victor Frankenstein are both haunted by the death of their loved ones and suffer from traumatic memories of their father/ mother. As the result of the trauma from this loss, they try to isolate themselves from society and seek for a way to fulfill the nostalgia for their happy childhood with their parents. In Hamlet, the prince of Denmark’s actions after his father’s death reveals that he’s traumatized by the memory of his father, which are due to the “unnatural” actions of the new king Claudius. Hamlet is literally haunted by his father’s memory. He says to Horatio in grief “ My father – me thinks I see my father” (I.2.183). The thoughts about his father always linger in his mind. Hamlet can see his father “ in [his] mind’s eyes (I.2.185), is a proof that he is almost traumatized by his father’s memory. His father’s death and his mother’s hasty remarriage to Claudius turn his world into “ an unweeded garden / that grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature” (1.2.135,136). After Hamlet sees his father’s spirit, the last thing the old Hamlet says to him “ Adieu, adieu, Hamlet. Remember me” (I.5.91). The fact that no one except Hamlet mourns for old king’s death make the memories of his father appear more clearly to him. Instead of grieving for the old King, Claudius announces his sudden marriage to Hamlet’s mother Gertrude as an act of patriotism to ensure the safety of Denmark. This action of Claudius appears to be “ unnatural” to Hamlet, which leads to the prince’s depression. The most beloved person in Hamlet’s world just passes away and everyone even his mother tells him to stop grieving for the dead, trigger the memory for his father. After the reunion with the ghost, Hamlet learns the true story of his father’s death and agrees with his father to avenge for his murder. His well-known soliloquy “ To be or not to be- that is the question” (III.1.57) reveals a question pondering in his mind. He wonders whether it is better to take action and confront problems or it is best to commit suicide. Hamlet realizes that he is bearing an enormous burden, which is to murder the new King, Claudius. In an attempt to fulfill his father’s command, he becomes obsessed with revenging for his father’s death. As the plan to expose Claudius’s murder, Hamlet feigns madness in front of everybody; however, sometimes Hamlet becomes mentally mad, which is a result of his trauma for the loss of his father. Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein is also haunted by the memory of his mother His mother’s death because of diseases and illness leads to Victor’s trauma of losing his mother. Why? The scarlet fever takes away his mother, which concurs his ambition to “ banish disease from the human frame, and render man invulnerable to any but violent death”( II.42). He is totally distraught at losing his mother at such a young age. Victor confides to Walton “No human being could have passed a happier childhood than myself.” (II.39) He describes his family as a happy one and his parents as “ the very spirit of kindness and indulgence”. (II.39) As a teenager, he becomes increasingly fascinated with the mysteries of the world. He is interested in natural philosophy, which “ has regulated [his] fate” later on. All of sudden, the “ most irreparable evil” (II.45) takes away his beloved mother. As...
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