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Moral Corruption In Hamlet By Shakespeare And The Great Gatsby By Fitzgerald

932 words - 4 pages

A central theme in which both the works of Hamlet by Shakespeare and Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald have in common is moral corruption. Hamlet and Gatsby are both tragic figures who do not fit into the world they live in. In each story, the protagonist is an outsider, feeling alienated from his society and is also witnessing one that is in moral decline. The cause and effects of this alienation, or isolation, lead to how both characters encounter moral corruption.

Hamlet is isolated when he is alone grieving for the death of his father and because he has been chosen to avenge his father’s death. Hamlet’s anxious feelings of loss and his desire to kill the present king of Denmark make him an outsider to his own family, the Danish court and his countrymen. While, Gatsby's desire to regain Daisy, in a sense, isolates him. He is unimaginably wealthy and is able to throw immense, and extravagant parties, yet Gatsby stands alone from others, wanting only to be with Daisy.

The idea that both of these characters are outsiders in their morally corrupt worlds is a strong connection between the two texts. However, because both characters are alienated from their society, this causes them to encounter moral corruption throughout the book. Their similarities in their undeniable and evident flaws later lead to their tragic downfall.

The moral corruption of Hamlet primarily starts with the marriage of Claudius and Gertrude, which disgusts him. He seems to be overly concerned in the sex life of his mother with Claudius, which is shown when he states: "She married: - O, most wicked speed, to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets." Hamlet is overly absorbed with his mother's marriage with Claudius, leading to his moral breakdown, which branches directly from Gertrude and her marriage to Claudius.
Hamlet is so disgusted with his mother’s hastiness to marry so soon after his father's death, that he develops a hatred towards her. From this point forward, Hamlet seems to associate Gertrude’s incestuous marriage with moral corruption.

In the beginning of the story Hamlet, corruption is first introduced when Horatio, Bernardo and Marcellus see King Hamlet's ghost. The supernatural appearance of the ghost is believed to be a sign of corruption. As represented in the story of the assassination of Julius Caesar in ancient Rome, ghosts wandered the streets because of injustice and corruption.Which in this case, the corruption of King Hamlet’s murder. (pg. 7)

Hamlet furthers the idea of corruption in his first soliloquy when he states, “an unweeded garden that grows to seed, things rank and gross in nature.” An unweeded garden, refers to the rotten country of Denmark, and how the things rank...

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