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And King Lear

Shakespeare has many overlapping themes that seem to correlate throughout his
different works of literature. However, there are many themes that conflict as
well. King Lear and Hamlet are two works of literature that can be both compared
and contrasted. Hamlet and Lear seem to be complete opposites on the surface.

Hamlet is a young prince who is lost in a world of confusion and deception. His
father is brutally murdered by his uncle and he then must face him as his new
father-in-law when he marries his mother. Lear is an elderly man who is past his
prime and is trying to raise his daughters in a world of vanity and live with
the Renaissance’s preoccupation with appearances. As conflicting as these two
characters seem they also have to deal with many of the same pressures and they
surprisingly handle certain situations similarly. One such circumstance is that
they are both forced the verge of madness. But this isn’t the only thing that
is coincidental between the two character’s situation. They both have
‘methods to their madness.’ Hamlet goes through many trials and tribulations
throughout this play. He must live though his father’s untimely death, his
uncles hasty marry to his mother, Ophelia’s refusal to see him or except his
love letters, and the conspiracies that he sees planned against him. This alone
is enough for any reader to understand why he has gone mad and to sympathize
with. But Hamlet is stronger than he lets on to anybody. He is only pretending
to be as mad as he is so that people will not become suspicious when he snoops
around the house and acts irrationally toward his mother and step-father. His
madness becomes the obsession of the house and King Claudius actually brings his
old friends, Rosencranz and Guildenstern, to the house to find out what is
causing him to loose his sanity. He asks them, "Something have you heard/of

Hamlet’s transformation?" Everybody ends up with his or her own personal
explanation to why Hamlet has gone mad. Queen Gertrude feels that it is simply
his father’s death and her marriage that has caused him to cross the line
between sanity and insanity. Polonius believes that it was his refusal to let

Hamlet see his daughter, Ophelia, that has made him mad. Ophelia can not find a
reason for his madness, and feels it is the pressure of society and his new
family that has changed him so dramatically. Whatever the reason, most of

Hamlets friends and family were set on the fact that Hamlet was n...

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