Identical Situations In Purple Hibiscus Aby Adichie And Hamlet By William Shakespeare

1453 words - 6 pages

Amee Savani
English Essay: Kambili and Ophelia

In novel and the play Purple Hibiscus and Hamlet, Adichie and Shakespeare both depict similar characters that are put in identical situations. In the beginning of Purple Hibiscus, Kambili is in an environment that is similar to Ophelia’s—one that is repressive and strict. In both the palace and Enugu, both girls are under male dominated influence, which is the cause of their subordinate personality. Although Kambili and Ophelia seem identical by their personalities and the situations they are it, there is one prominent difference. Ophelia ends up taking her own life whereas Kambili seems to have improved as a character. The main ...view middle of the document...

Aunty Ifeoma is illustrating that when one is put into a critical situation where the outcome is either life or death, that one should not just stand around, they should run away from danger. In this situation that danger is Papa. Aunty Ifeoma teaches not only Kambili a valuable lesson, but she also teaches Mama one. She instructs Mama that she shouldn’t let this happen to her daughter. That if Papa gets mad and starts to hurt the children, that she shouldn’t just sit and let everything fall apart, that she should step up and protect her children. Although Kambili has been fairly quiet and unwilling to accept the new freedom that Nsukka has to offer, she eventually realizes the real benefits that living with her cousins and aunt are when she sees Father Amadi scaling the rod higher and higher for the children. She realizes that Aunty Ifeoma always believed that “they [her cousins] would scale the rod. And they did.” “We [Jaja and I] did not scale the rod because we [they] believed we [they] could, we [they] scaled it because we were terrified we couldn’t” (226). Kambili and Jaja had always been restricted from everything from the way they speak to their lifestyles. They never had the decision to steer off the path Papa had set up for them. Its here that Kambili realizes that she never had the chance to live her own life and set up her own goals, like her cousins do. Papa has used fear to make them reach goals that aren’t even theirs. Similarly, Amaka also boosts Kambili’s confidence by bullying her. Kambili eventually learns to speak up and stand her own ground, “‘you don’t have to shout…I said, finally” (170). Amaka has always shown Kambili tough love, but the result of that tough love is a stronger and more positive woman.
Unlike to the support Kambili gets, Ophelia simply receives none. Instead she is manipulated by the men in her life, in particular her father. Polonius uses Ophelia to get please the royals. When the queen and the king had thought Hamlet had gone mad because of his father’s death, Polonius quickly claims that they are wrong and the reason he is mad is because he is madly in love with his daughter. Polonius states that he “will loose my [his] daughter to him [Hamlet]” (2.1 161). Polonius manipulates and uses his daughter to his own desires. However, Ophelia obeys him and does as she is told. She is never able to break away like Kambili is able to. Polonius puts up a false front in which he seems as though he really does care about Ophelia, in reality, however, he just wants to make himself and the family seems worthwhile. And Ophelia doesn’t have that influence of a strong, rebellious woman. Gertrude is much like Ophelia in that they are both subordinate to men. However when she does speak up, she is put down by the men and she just goes back to being subordinate. “What have I done, that thou dar’st wag thy tongue” (3.4 40). Although Ophelia is not part of this scene, Gertrude is still disrespected and under estimated by...

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