compare and contrast the characters of Hamlet and Pi

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t-rashmi | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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This is the comparison and contrast between the characters Hamlet fro the play Hamlet and the character of Pi from the novel Life of Pi.Both Hamlet and Pi deal with discovering one’s place in the world and making correct choices. Both characters are very determined persons albeit for different causes. Both of them suffer tragedies at an impressionable age. They both experience that death is omnipresent but are able to stave off death long enough to get exactly what they want.

Hamlet: Main protagonist of Shakespearean drama ‘Hamlet’, a saga of revenge and tragedy.

Pi: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) is the main protagonist of the novel ‘Life of Pi’ by Yann Martel.

Hamlet is a philosophical, contemplative university student.

Pi is a good-natured, humorous, shy, graying, middle-aged man.

Hamlet: The murder of his father by his uncle and the marriage of his mother and uncle are life-changing events of his life.

Pi: A shipwreck is the life changing event of his life.

Hamlet is a prince and son of King Hamlet and Queen Gertrude of Denmark.

Pi belongs to a middle-class working family (son of a zookeeper).

Hamlet wants to know about the afterlife, about the wisdom of suicide, etc.

Pi is a voracious reader and has knowledge about various religions and zoology.

Hamlet is extremely melancholy and discontented, sometimes behaves erratically and upsets others with his wild speeches.

Pi is a person who has a vivid imagination. He is able to spin stories. Also he ably puts to use the knowledge of science and religion he learnt as a child.

Hamlet wants proof for everything. Hamlet is obsessed with proving his uncle’s guilt before he takes revenge. 

Pi believes that imagination is better than cold, hard facts.

Hamlet dies at a young age.

Pi turns into a smart and wise adult in the devastating shipwreck as he is able to fend for himself out in the world alone.

Hamlet relies on religion to determine what is right and wrong.

Pi is steeped in religion. He is a devout Hindu but also practices Christianity and Islam and realizes that all religions share the same foundation.

Hamlet contemplates suicide. He does not think of his duty as an heir apparent towards the people of his kingdom.

Pi: Religion gives him strength to fight to remain alive when he has lost his family and provides solace in tragic events, in insurmountable difficulties and dire circumstances.

In the end Hamlet avenges death of his father but gets killed in the process.

In the end, Pi has a fulfilling life.

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t-rashmi's profile pic

t-rashmi | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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I am attaching the comparison in a table form for ease of remembering.

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