Hamlet And Jphthah Comparison

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Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle and the new King of Denmark, is directly compared to Cain, who is one of Adam and Eve’s two sons in the Bible. Shakespeare compares Claudius’ murder of his brother Hamlet, to Cain’s murder of his brother Abel. In the Bible, Cain kills Abel because of his jealousy towards his brother. Due to Claudius’ self-pity seen in act 3, scene 3, Shakespeare compares Claudius’ feelings to the curse which God had placed upon Cain after his sin. Cain’s curse causes him to seek endless forgiveness for his sins, “It hath the primal eldest curse upon’t / A brother’s murder” (3.3.38-39). Claudius himself even feels guilty about the murder of his own brother, “What if this cursed hand / were thicker than itself with brother’s blood” (3.3.43-44).…show more content…
Jephthah is a judge of Israel and is referred to in Judges, a section of the Bible. In the Bible, Jephthah had sacrificed his daughter to maintain an oath that he made with God and in order to maintain his good reputation. The sacrifice which Jephthah makes, renders his daughter to remain a virgin her whole entire life. The comparison of Polonius to Jephthah is seen in act 2, scene 2 by Hamlet, who tells Polonius, “O Jephthah, what a treasure hadst thou!” (2.2.392). This quote directly implies that Polonius is greedy like Jephthah, and that he manipulates everyone for his personal interest and his good reputation amongst the higher powers of Denmark. Shakespeare’s intended effect of this comparison was to prove how Polonius was manipulative and narcissistic, just like Jephthah. In this case, Polonius manipulates his daughter: Ophelia into confirming that Hamlet’s source of lunacy is related to his love of Ophelia by forcing Ophelia to put on a show, “Read on this book, / That show of such an exercise may colour / Your loneliness.” (3.1.44-45). Shakespeare had also made this sacrificial comparison in order to foreshadow Ophelia’s death due to Polonius’ manipulative flaw. The comparison of Polonius to a judge, who is put in the position to choose between his daughter and his reputation, ultimately renders him to lose his “treasured” daughter

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