Similarities Between Romeo And Juliet And The Great Gatsby

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Vittorio Nastasi Mrs. Alford AP Literature-7 March 9th, 2015 Social Commentary: Criticism of the Socioeconomic Elite Socioeconomic classes and the relations between them have long remained a subject of interest to historians, philosophers, and writers alike. As Karl Marx wrote in his Communist Manifesto, “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” (4). A critical aspect of the relationship between such classes is the way the socioeconomic elite conduct themselves and how their actions are viewed by the rest of society. William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald depict the socioeconomic elite acting with indiscretion and out of self indulgence. Both pieces…show more content…
In Elizabethan England playwrights, actors, and the theatre in general were not thought to be particularly prestigious. Given this and the fact that most of Shakespeare’s plays revolve around royalty or otherwise socioeconomic elite, it is reasonable to presume social commentary would play a role. Also worth noting is that while he took residence in England, all of Shakespeare’s plays are set in foreign areas. One clear instance of this can be found in another Shakespearean tragedy, Hamlet, set in Denmark. The play is littered with examples of spying, lurking, and deception making it one of the more recognizable motifs. In fact, the scene that initiates much of the action involves Polonius eavesdropping on a conversation between Hamlet and his mother, Gertrude. When Hamlet senses another presence in the room (though he remains unaware of its identity), he thrusts his sword at the curtain which shrouds Polonius—in one of his only decisive moments. The death of Polonius is the cause of his daughter, Ophelia's, decent into madness and eventual suicide. These events in turn signal the return of Laertes, Polonius' son, who eventually kills Hamlet in a duel to avenge the deaths of his father and sister. The disastrous results of Polonius' surveillance underscore the toxicity of deception. Other examples of spying within Hamlet include Hamlet's friends,…show more content…
Scott Fitzgerald." A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2015. <>. Fitzgerald, F. Scott, and Matthew J. Bruccoli. The Great Gatsby. New York, NY: Scribner, 1996. Print. "The Great Depression." A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2015. <>. "The Great Depression." Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2015. <>. "The Life of William Shakespeare (1564–1616)." The Life of William Shakespeare (1564–1616). N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2015. <http://www.shakespeareinam>. Marx, Karl, Friedrich Engels, Friedrich Engels, and Ellen Meiksins. Wood. The Communist Manifesto. New York: Monthly Review, 1998. Print. Shakespeare, William, and Rex Gibson. Romeo and Juliet. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992. Print. Shakespeare, William, and Eugene M. Waith. The Tragedy of Macbeth. New Haven: Yale UP, 1954. Print. Shakespeare, William, and Philip Edwards. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1985.

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