Hamlet and the Man in the Iron Mask

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The Man in the Iron Mask, by Alexandre Dumas, and Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, both follow similar plot lines and relate to each other through their themes. Shakespeare and Dumas both discuss themes of family, justice and judgement, lies and deceit, loyalty and the consequences of revenge. These major themes blend seamlessly in the stories of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and The Man in the Iron Mask. The themes are consistent throughout the play and the book, ultimately addressing the search for truth and justice in each of the protagonist’s situations. Although a number of similarities exist between the two stories, they approach the subject of loyalty differently. What Shakespeare and Dumas have discussed in their stories demonstrates a similar challenge, the search for the truth behind the lies. Hamlet and Philippe suffer mentally as they consider the consequences of their actions and inaction. As other characters become tied to their reactions, they too pay a price for their involvement. First, in both books there are themes about the consequences of revenge. The main theme is that revenge leads to destruction instead of solving the problem, ultimately escalating the primary problem further. Both forms show justice and judgement in the revenge displayed towards the kings. In the play of Hamlet, the main character is confronted with the ghost of his father who reveals that his death was not an accident but a murder. As Hamlet takes revenge, other people become involved and a cycle of revenge for death takes place. In order to accomplish what he knows as justice, Hamlet uses sound judgement as he takes revenge, both physically and emotionally, on those around him. In the Man in the Iron Mask, the musketeers want to take their own revenge on the king for the lack of food for the starving people in the village and his cruelty in general toward his people. Vengeance in this book turns into a cycle as the three musketeers take revenge on the king; the king later takes revenge onto his people. The son of the recently deceased king is known to us as a young man named Hamlet. The truth of the death of his father becomes known to Hamlet when his father’s ghost appears to him, explaining that he was murdered with poison at the hand of his own brother, Hamlets uncle. This method of death by poisoning foreshadows the death of the main characters later in the play. Prince Hamlet then devotes himself to avenging his father’s death, but delays the physical death of his uncle in order to torture him psychologically. The people involved enter into a deep melancholy and madness as Hamlet lets go of his closest relationships, judging family and friends for their disrespect toward his dead father. Hamlet psychologically tortures his uncle by arranging for a play named “Mouse Trap.” Hamlet plans it so that it parallels his father’s death, in an effort to witness Claudius’, Hamlet’s uncle’s, reaction. Claudius goes through physiological distress as he begins to wonder if Hamlet knows the truth behind the death of his father. Claudius then runs out of the theatre in order to pray for forgiveness. Hamlet follows and begins to draw his sword as this becomes the ideal moment to enact justice onto his uncle. However, Hamlet takes notice that Claudius killed his father while his father’s sins were unforgiven. King Hamlet had no time to repent due to the fact of his murder and was left to the divine to judge him. Hamlet decided to kill Claudius another time, perhaps when the king is drunk, angry or in the middle of an immoral act. This way, there would be no uncertainty about whether Claudius would go to Hell or not. Hamlet admires his father to the extent that he is determined not only to kill Claudius but also to make him suffer the wrath and judgement, sending him to a similar afterlife in Hell. (Shakespeare pg.85 Act III, Scene 3). As Hamlet goes to his mother in anger, he is determined to inflict pain on her emotionally,...
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