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The Theme Of Rebellion In Hamlet, Orwell’s 1984, And Krakauer's Into The Wild

1255 words - 6 pages

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines revolution as “a sudden, radical, or complete change,” but the meaning of revolution and rebellion has evolved over time. In today’s more open-to-interpretation society its meaning has come to envelope a broader array of subjects. The development of rebellion and revolution as a theme can be seen throughout literature in works such as William Shakespeare's Hamlet, George Orwell’s 1984, and Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild. Revolution changes from the known definition that can be applied to The French and American Revolutions, as seen in 1984 and to a lesser extent Hamlet, to a humanistic idea of an inner conflict within an individual as in Into the Wild. ...view middle of the document...

Hamlet states “But I am pigeon-liver’d and lack gall” (2.2.538). “Pigeon-liver’d” and “gall” refer to Hamlet not having the stomach or courage to quickly avenge his father. Hamlet is attempting to rebel against the corrupt and incestous King Claudius in an act of Vengance just as Laertes planned to avenge his. In 1984 Winston, unlike Hamlet, is eager to work towards starting a revolution evident from the moment he writes “DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER” (23) in his journal to when he and Julia are at O’Brien’s home, accepting the consequences of joining the Brotherhood: “[O’Brien]: ‘You are prepared to give your lives?’ [Winston and Julia]: ‘Yes.’‘You are prepared to commit murder?’‘Yes’” (218). In 1984, the way Winston and Julia feel towards their government and a overthrow of it also differs. Winston and Julia both hate Big Brother and enjoy defying his rules. Based on the statement that “Katherine is the model Party woman [because] Sex is completely dead in her and she only engages in the act because of procreation” (Parascandola) we can infer that by contrast Julia is the perfect revolutionary. Julia is “a rebel from the waist downwards” (196), but only that. When Winston tries to talk to her about the injustices of The Party, Julia is bored and does not show the emotion that Winston feels. It is not long after Winston and Julia take the first big step towards their part in their revolution (their visit to O’Brien’s house) that they are caught and their attempt to contribute to an eventual peaceful world collapses. In both of these works the individual face external barriers to their goals which they then rebel against which is different from the rebellion that goes on the life of Christopher McCandless from Into the Wild.
A revolution does not have to mean at outward action directed at a foreign person or body it can also be the effect of inner turmoil within oneself as is the case with Chris McCandless. As a boy that group up in a upper-middle class suburban society with hard working well-to-do parents, that excelled in school and graduated college, Alex [a self-given nickname] doesn't seem to have much to complain about. But in his seemingly perfect life he had issues with his father as both of them were hard headed, “Both father and son were stubborn and high-strung” (Krakauer 53), and was greatly influenced by the ideas of Jack London and Leo Tolstoy which encouraged him to become a minimalist and go to the Alaskan tundra which led to his death. Alex became disdainful of his family and their materialistic lifestyle at...

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