Comparison essay Hamlet how i learned to drive - Comparison Essay Example
Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a powerful play that tells the stuggles of Prince Hamlet and how he dealt with the betrayals of people around him whom he have trusted and loved - Comparison essay Hamlet how i learned to drive introduction. Equally powerful is a contemporary work by Paula Vogel entitled “How I Learned to Drive” showcasing the inner turmoils of Li’l Bit who was maligned since adolescence to her teenage years. Though made during different eras, both these works captivate audiences being on a similar ground of uncovering secrets that may be uncommon to all but are present in the lives of others.
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The most notable similarity in both these plays is the presence of a common kin who was the cause of all the tragedies and aches in the lives of the main characters. This kin is an uncle for both of the main characters in the play. In Li’l Bit’s case, it was her Uncle Peck who has abused her starting from her young age to her adulthood and has definitely affected her inner psyche. As for Hamlet’s case, it was King Claudius who poisoned his father and married his mother so that he could be crowned king. In this context, one can already account for the reason of why the characters are acting the way they are. The wrongdoings of their uncles has given birth to their destructive nature and their confusion. They are confused of what the truth is and do not know how to act despite their intelligence. For Li’l Bit, it was a confusion of knowing if what she was doing with her uncle was indeed right or wrong. This may be because she was abused at a young age with her not being exposed yet to the realities of life. She was made to think that it was natural and made her sink even deeper by allowing her uncle to take provocative pictures of her and even influenced her to be an abusive drinker herself. Also, it did not help that her family was very dysfunctional. Hamlet was confused about the truth of whether it was true that Claudius killed his father due to the fact that it was a ghost who delivered the news to him. This circumstance though witnessed by others is still not a natural occurrence and may indeed cause reluctance in belief.
The main symbolism that is also similar in both the plays is the use of alcohol as poison. Li’l Bit’s revenge came in the form of depressing her uncle who eventually drowned in grief and was poisoned by his alcoholism. In Hamlet, the revenge to Cladius was killing him by making him drink the poisoned wine. It seems that the cause of the problem became the solution. In Learning How to Drive, one can assume that alcoholism was a factor that caused Uncle Peck to behave indecently against Li’l Bit and in the end, it caused him to end his life. Claudius also caused the conflict by killing Hamlet’s father using poison but he eventually got a taste of his own medicine. It is sad however, that both of the characters were severely affected emotionally and psychologically by the events that happened to them. Li’l Bit became a drunk and later got dropped out of college and Hamlet died in the process of avenging his father’s death. But before their downfalls both have experienced awakenings in their lives which were quite dramatic. To quote Li’l Bit, “You’ve got to let me — draw the line”. This was a moment in the play which shows how she realized that she needed to do something about what was happening in order to avoid the manipulation and control imposed by her uncle. Hamlet’s awakening came when he met the soldiers of King Fortinbras and said the famous line, “My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!”. This is when he realized that he was acting cowardly not being able to attain vengeance for his father. This is when he gained resolve to do what he must because he has the reason to do so, comparing himself to the soldiers that were willing to risk their lives depsite the mediocrity of their reasons.
Li’l Bit and Hamlet were victims of hostilities and the dark nature of humans making their life a tale that is full of conflicts and sadness. However, both have found freedom from these struggles. Li’l Bit was thankful for the freedom she felt when driving and Hamlet found his freedom when he successfully got the revenge for his father.
Vogel, Paula. “How I Learned to Drive.” Vineyard Theatre. 1997
Shakespeare, William. “Hamlet”. 6 June 2010. < http://shakespearenavigators.com/hamlet >