Macbeth V Hamlet Essay, Research Paper
In the tragedies of Hamlet and Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, the main character exhibits a tragic flaw. However, the problem that afflicts each is directly opposite the fault of the other. Macbeth?s weakness is his ambition, driving him forward in murder and betrayal, whereas Hamlet has no such driving force to even avenge the wrongful murder of his own father and suffers from an inability to act.
Macbeth decides to follow his first instinct after meeting with the witches and promptly murders Macduff?s family, without hesitating. He is only concerned with destroying those who might reveal his crime. But Hamlet lacks the confidence and anger that Macbeth has. He explains in one soliloquy that he doesn?t want the job or feel sure he can complete it. This is not simply a question of condemnation or salvation; if Hamlet were not so terribly indecisive, he would have no question concerning his job, to kill Claudius.
Another set of opposites represents the weaknesses of each in his particular situation. Macbeth has no reflection of the evil he?s done, but it is Hamlet?s concern and worry that contributes to his downfall. Macbeth appears to lack a conscience or any morality and, therefore, thinks nothing of murdering several people, including his closest friend. Hamlet?s morals and religion, however, detain him in carrying out the deed. He hesitates yet again even after the play reveals that Claudius is the murderer and that the ghost was not the devil. Hamlet is too fearful that he will be condemned or, at one point, that Claudius won?t even go to hell because he is praying.
Hamlet also questions his eternal happiness, while Macbeth seeks power and fortune on earth. Hamlet wants nothing more than his father?s murder avenged by any means, except going to hell himself. It seems from his devotion that he would even die to see this through, but he continues to hesitate. Macbeth doesn?t think once about the eternal punishment he may receive. He wants wealth and power for the time he?ll spend in this life before his death. The villain desires fame, material wealth, and greatness at any cost. Nevertheless, in the end of Macbeth, he has begun a fleeting effort to clear all opposition and is fighting Macduff for more time to spend as king of Scotland.