How can I compare and contrast The Great Gatsby and Hamlet?

There are numerous similarities between The Great Gatsby and Hamlet, many related to the central themes of power and class within a society. The two protagonists, Jay Gatsby and Prince Hamlet, have to face their individual internal struggles due to their position of birth and choices they make in their lives. The time periods in which each was written, 1600 for Hamlet and 1925 for The Great Gatsby, greatly influenced their themes and reception.

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The Great Gatsby and Hamlet are similar in that they both give us an insight into the often dysfunctional lives of the rich and powerful. We may, like Nick Garraway in Fitzgerald's story, find these people utterly repellent in so many respects. But at the same time, we cannot avoid finding them rather fascinating.

The kind of people we're dealing with are completely different than most of us, and this, more than anything else, is what makes them so compelling. Most of us like to be drawn into a world with which we are not familiar, and The Great Gatsby and Hamlet both do that with considerable aplomb.

A further interesting parallel between the two comes in the shape of their respective lead characters. Both Jay Gatsby and Prince Hamlet spend most of the time involved in a forlorn quest, a quest that ultimately leads them to tragedy. In the case of Gatsby, it's his quixotic quest for the hand of Daisy Buchanan that eventually, and by a very circuitous route, leads to his tragic, untimely demise.

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1044 words.)

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