Man vs. Himself

Topics: Hamlet, A Tale of Two Cities, Life Pages: 5 (2078 words) Published: May 18, 2001
fulfillment is what people live for, without it how can a person live? A failed search for self-fulfillment often leads to death. Demonstrated in A Tale of Two Cites, Hamlet, and A Death of a Salesman, each novel includes one character that struggles to fulfill his life, which results in death. Self-fulfillment can include being loved, wealthy, happiness, remembered, respected, or even a being hero. Sadly if none of these objectives is met, the character seems to think death is the only way option. "Nothing great will ever be achieved without great men, and men are great only if they are determined to be so" as said by Charles DeGaulle, relates to each character in the three novels that they were never determined to improve their life. The first example of failed self-fulfillment resulting in death is Willy Loman's from the novel A Death of a Salesman. Loman fails to be "well-liked" and also fails to provide for his family and decides that the only way to provide for them is to commit suicide so they can collect the insurance money. Loman spent most of his life trying to convince his family that he is the best in the business and he wants his sons, Biff and Happy to be the same. Willy tells his sons that with his success he'll be "Bigger than Uncle Charley! Because Charley is not -- liked. He's liked, but he's not -- well liked."(Miller, I.iii) Little do Biff and Happy know, that their father isn't liked at all, he's just trying to fulfill one of his goals in life, being "well-liked". Later when Loman is fired from his job he starts to think about all the hard work he's contributed to wanting to become successful and then concludes that, "Funny, y'know? After all the highways, and the trains, and the appointments, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive."(Miller, II.iv) Now Willy starts to see death as the only way to provide for his family, but he also believes that with his death, he'll be able to prove to others that he was "well liked" because his funeral will be massive. "Oh, Ben, that's the whole beauty of it! I see it like a diamond, shining in the dark, hard and rough, that I can pick up and touch in my hand. Not like -- like an appointment! This would not be another damned-fool appointment, Ben, and it changes all the aspects. Because he thinks I'm nothing, see, and so he spites me. But the funeral -- Ben, that funeral will be massive! They'll come from Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire! All the old-timers with the strange license plates -- that boy will be thunder-struck, Ben, because he never realized -- I am known! Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey -- I am known, Ben, and he'll see it with his eyes once and for all. He'll see what I am, Ben! He's in for a shock, that boy!" (Miller, II.vii)

Willy, a moment later gets in his car, only to commit suicide, because he's unable to reach self-fulfillment.
Another character, Hamlet, whose father is killed and comes back as a ghost hoping that his son Hamlet will avenge his death, is killed. Hamlets whole purpose in life was to seek revenge for his beloved fathers murder. In order to avenge his father's death he had to kill his Uncle, King Claudius. Hamlet was given many opportunities to kill King Claudius, yet always hesitated to do so. One very distinct opportunity was when Hamlet found Claudius alone in his room praying to be forgiven for his sin of death, Hamlet in confusion could only think "Now might I do it pat, now he is a-praying,

And now I'll do't.
And so he goes to heaven,
And so am I revenged. That would be scanned:
A villain kills my father, and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven."(Hamlet, III.iii.77-83)

Hamlet being confused, could not decide what to do, fulfill his duties as a son and murder Claudius, or ignore the ghost and go on living as if nothing happened. Hamlet being a weak-minded character cannot deal with such a decision and starts to question death as a solution to his...
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