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What are some examples in Brave New World of how characters act like Shakespearean...

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asdf1111 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 10, 2012 at 12:39 AM via web

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What are some examples in Brave New World of how characters act like Shakespearean characters as described by John? 

Not how they are mentioned by John or things like that, but how are some characters actually LIKE the characters in Shakespeare's plays? For example: I found one example where John kills himself because he did something out of character that he later regretted, like Othello killing his wife then himself in Othello.

I just need one more good example; any suggestions would be appreciated.Thanks!

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 10, 2012 at 3:34 PM (Answer #1)

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Because John has been introduced to higher thoughts exclusively through the works of William Shakespeare, he turns to lines from the plays of the Bard whenever he wishes to express his emotions or understand his thoughts. For, the words of Shakespeare are the only medium through which he can communicate his deepest feelings as well as associate them with what is real for him.

For instance, John abhors Pope, but before reading Shakespearean plays, he feels that he never really hated Pope because he had never been able to express his antipathy. But the words of Shakespeare have been like magic for him--"they gave him a reason for hating Pope." John applies lines from Hamlet to Pope:

A man can smile and smile and be a villain. Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain. What did the words exactly mean? He only half knew. But their magic was strong and [they] were wonderful, wonderful all the same.

Drawing the parallel between how Pope acts with the actions of Claudius, John contemplates, as does Hamlet in Shakespeare's play, the murder of Pope. As the words descriptive of Claudius parallel those that describe Pope in John's mind, he feels the blood rise to his cheeks. Grinding his teeth, John repeats the words, "I'll kill him, I'll kill him."  With the Shakespearean "magic" in his mind--

When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage

Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed....

John makes his plan to wait until Pope is drunk or in bed with his mother (as Claudius was in bed with Gertrude, Hamlet's mother) and then stab him. However, while John does act, he only succeeds in cutting Pope's shoulder.

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