What real-life historical figures from any point in history would be similar to:  Hamlet, Polonius, Claudius, and Ophelia?Which people from history would have similar qualities and characteristics...

What real-life historical figures from any point in history would be similar to:  Hamlet, Polonius, Claudius, and Ophelia?

Which people from history would have similar qualities and characteristics to that of the aforementioned characters?

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Hamlet, with a giant tragic flaw of inaction, could adequately be compared to Jimmy Carter who waited far too long to get the hostages from the US Embassy in Iran, . . . with tragic results.

Polonius, always trying to butter-up Claudius while remaining the fool and avid spy, could be compared to Woodrow Wilson at the end of World War I, pandering to the European Powers by accepting the Treaty of Versailles.

Claudius, the immoral leader who kills in order to gain power, could be compared to Lenin and his followers who killed Russian Czar Nicholas II (and his entire family) in order to gain power.  (Oh, there are so many good examples of historical comparisons to Claudius in that regard!)

A second idea for Claudius revolves around his desire to kill in order to gain the wife of a friend.  There is no better example for that idea than King David, who kills the husband of Bathsheba in order to gain her as his wife.

Finally, Ophelia loses all her mental capacity and goes completely insane (ultimately committing suicide) because she can't handle the stress of sexual advances, murder, and corruption.  How about comparing Ophelia to Sylvia Plath, the famous writer, who had a mental breakdown and committed suicide some say as a result of working for Mademoiselle and some say because of her husband’s affairs.  (Honestly, though, I couldn't stop thinking about the novel Girl, Interrupted here, . . . and Daisy, the character who kills herself after being brought out of her fantasy world and into the reality of a lifetime of incest with her father.)

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