Hamlet And Danticat's The Book Of The Dead

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Memory over Matter The external and internal struggles that characters endure when trying to identify the difference between reality and fiction is a common theme amongst writers from the Late Middle Ages. To prominent works of the time that illustrate this common motif include Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and Danticat’s “The Book of the Dead”. In Hamlet, memory is a linguistic gesture rooted in the foundation of complex communication. As a result of watching Claudius gloss over the memory of his dead father, Hamlet loses his sanity to the pursuit of resolving his past. In Danticat’s “The Book of the Dead”, Danticat attempts to illustrate how memory is not a reliable tool to use to anchor ourselves to reality. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and Danticat’s…show more content…
It is the memory of his father that drives Hamlet to insanity and back, but at the same time anchors him to reality. After the Ghost had informed Hamlet of Claudius’ evil act, Hamlet goes to convince his friends that he will play a role of insanity saying, “How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself, As I perchance hereafter shall think meet To put an antic disposition on” (Shakespeare 923). Eric Leavy makes an interesting point about Hamlet’s sanity saying, “Though Hamlet convinces his friends that he is only putting on an antic disposition, Hamlet is actually hiding the true internal struggle he undergoes with the idea of suicide” (Leavy 13). Within the text, an argument can be made that Hamlet’s “To Be” soliloquy actually depicts his struggle in deciding whether to commit the immoral act of suicide. In fact suicide is such an immoral and dishonorable act, Hamlet does not use “I”, or “me” in the entire soliloquy. Additionally, religion is not the only character that plays a role in Hamlet’s judgement against suicide. As Hamlet says, “but that the dread of something after death” (Shakespeare 1771), it is the fear of what comes after death combined with his religious beliefs that stops Hamlet from both killing his father, and committing

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