Throughout time and literature there are many examples of people struggling to figure out the answers to the questions of who are we, and why are we here. In Hamlet, Hamlet demonstrates human experiences through his love for Ophelia, his showcases of despair, and his struggle with outwards appearance vs.
true appearance. Along with Hamlet, the Great Gatsby explores humanity through his romantic initiative for Daisy, hope, and his struggle with appearance vs. reality. The two characters Hamlet and Gatsby are two similar figures in the world of literature that can be put side by side. In both Hamlet and the Great Gatsby, Hamlet and Jay both discover the principle of our humanity and what it means to be human.
In Hamlet, Hamlet demonstrates his love for Ophelia but does not show that romantic readiness that Jay Gatsby does for Daisy. In Hamlet, Polonius reads a letter that Hamlet had once sent to Ophelia aloud to the King and Queen. Polonius reads “Doubt thou the stars are fire/Doubt that the sun doth move/ Doubt truth to be a liar/But never doubt I love.”(2. 2. 115-118) Hamlet demonstrates the love he has towards Ophelia through the writing of this poem. All thought Hamlet is the best poet, this is important to analyse because it shows the love that Hamlet has for Ophelia if he takes the time and effort to create the poem. In almost everyone human being love is the driving force for many actions, the poem also shows us that Ophelia gives Hamlets life meaning.
In addition Hamlet shows his love for Ophelia even further during her funeral. As the funeral for Ophelia is being held Hamlet hides in the background, but Hamlet is confused for he cannot see who is in the grave and jumps in. When Hamlet sees her he weep “I loved Ophelia; forty thousand brothers/could not, with all their quantity of love/make up my sum.”(5. 1. 263-265) Hamlet explains that his love for Ophelia so great that not even the love of forty thousand brothers could equal the love that he has for Ophelia. This is very important as it shows that the love Hamlet has for Ophelia is very great and love is a very important part in determining the human essence. Furthermore in the Great Gatsby, Gatsby demonstrates his romantic readiness to love.
Gatsby has not seen Daisy in 5 years and wants to arrange a meeting with her at Nick Caraway’s house so that they could fall in love once again. When the meeting is arranged and Gatsby finally meets with Daisy after so long his change and reaction is incredible. As Nick describes when he sees Gatsby “He literally glowed without a word or a gesture of exultation, and new well-being radiated from him and filled the little room” (pg. 36).
The way Nick describes Gatsby is almost as if Gatsby turned into a new person when he met with Daisy. This is very significant because it shows that love can completely change who you are and even what you look like, which shows that love truly gives life a whole new meaning. In continuation Gatsby shows more of love for Daisy when Nick, Jordan, Daisy, and Tom are all out in the city and Tom finally realizes the affair between Gatsby and Daisy. When Tom confronts Gatsby about the situation, Gatsby shoots off and says “No we couldn’t meet. But both of us loved each other all that time” (pg. 125).
Gatsby tells Tom that while he was away for 5 years, Daisy and he were in love, regardless of the fact that had not seen each other in so long. While Gatsby was at war the only thing he could think about was getting back to his Daisy. When he arrived home all his effort and days are spent trying to get Daisy’s love back. Daisy and Ophelia give Gatsby and Hamlet meaning to life because love is the driving the force. This relates perfectly to the meaning of life because it demonstrates that love is such a strong motive for wanting to keep on living. In the Great Gatsby and in Hamlet there are accounts where the characters display hope and/or despair and they must choose to keep on going or stop there. In Hamlet, Hamlets mother marries his Uncle in short succession after the death of Hamlets father and it completely destroys Hamlet that no one could mourned longer for the death of his father.
Hamlets situations makes him very depressed and he falls into a state of melancholy. As Hamlet is alone in the castle he speaks aloud to the audience and reveals “To be, or not be that is the question” (3. 1.
57). Hamlet contemplates whether or not he should life or die, and if he should act or not act for revenge of his father. This shows that in life people are set back when something tough comes their way, but as Hamlet says “to be or not to be” one must ask themselves the same question. To act when times are tough or just let it bring you down? This is what gives meaning to peoples’ lives.