Written one year apart from the other, one cannot fail to recognize the parallels between William Shakespeare's tragedies Julius Caesar and Hamlet. To begin, they are both stories of assassinations gone horribly wrong. Although the details of the plays are different, the two assassins (Brutus and Hamlet) provide interesting comparison. Through these two killers, Shakespeare reveals the different levels of justice; one’s personal sense of justice; others’ perception of justice; the justice of the monarchy that supports Shakespeare’s craft. Through this, the audience realizes that a just person is not always a humble one, a condition that may turn out to be a fatal flaw in the end. When a man decides to play God by taking justice into his own hands, the world can unravel much more quickly than he had ever imagined.
Justice in Hamlet is a conflict between two Bible teachings: The Old Testament says, "An eye for an eye," but the New Testament preaches, "Turn the other cheek." Hamlet’s peers beg him to let his father rest in peace and accept his mother’s remarriage, an act that would be in accordance with the New Testament. Claudius, Hamlet’s mother’s new husband, himself p...
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Bradley., A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth. New York: Penguin Books, 1991.
Durband, Alan. Shakespeare Made Easy: Julius Caesar. Barron's Educational Series, Inc.; New York. 1985.
Mack, Maynard. “The World of Hamlet.” Yale Review. vol. 41 (1952) p. 502-23. Rpt. in Shakespeare: Modern Essays in Criticism. Rev. ed. Ed. Leonard F. Dean. New York: Oxford University P., 1967.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. Suzanne L. Wofford. Boston: St. Martin's Press, 1994.
Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. Ed. Alan Durband. London: Hutchinson & Co. Publishers Ltd., 1984.
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