Family in Jane Eyre and Hamlet

Powerful Essays
In both William Shakespeare’s play, ‘Hamlet’ and in Charlotte Brontë’s novel, ‘Jane Eyre’ the self is an extremely powerful notion. One of the main constraints and one of the main motivators in both texts is the importance and influence of the family. Both texts explore the powerful impact of the family, or perceived family, to define or shape the self and the extent of influence that the family can have to alter, prevent or encourage development of the self. This influence is used effectively by both authors to reveal and accentuate character growth. The movement in character growth is both physical and spiritual, revealing through a combination of both, the extent of family influence. The unusual and controversial representations of the family in both ‘Jane Eyre‘ and ‘Hamlet’ allow a deeper and more complex analysis of the power and influence of the perceived notion of the family unit. In Jane Eyre, the setting, characters, motifs and symbols and concepts such as masculinity have a profound impact on the significance of the family. In comparison, to the eventual creation of a family for Jane, Hamlet portrays the destruction of the family unit. This is effectively conveyed through extremely powerful language use, use of symbolism, characters and interpretations of the destroyed family. Jane Eyre is a classic coming-of-age novel, using the popular format of a character reaching maturity through a series of obstacles, similar to both Mark Twain's ‘Huckleberry Finn’, and J.D. Salinger's ‘The Catcher in the Rye’. However it creates a more complex picture through clever crafting of the novel incorporating the physical movement and growth of Jane with her spiritual development. One of the strongest influences on her movements is the notion of the family. As Jane is an orphan, she must ‘create’ her own family. Her choices reflect her need to find her own family. Jane Eyre is a novel which has no firm setting. As the locations change, Jane herself is affected in

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