Garcin and Hamlet Essay

Garcin and Hamlet Essay

Length: 1451 words (4.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Jean-Paul Sartre and William Shakespeare, while centuries and mindsets apart, both examined through drama the meaning of existence and the weight that man’s actions bear on his soul. In Sartre’s No Exit and Shakespeare’s Hamlet, their characters struggle with the mere concept of death and the mysteries that accompany it as they also struggle to accept choices and decisions made during life. Spirituality and the quest for life’s meaning conflict the protagonists of both works. Sartre and Shakespeare chose symbolic representation of spiritual ideals through props, specifically the bronze ornament resting on the mantelpiece of No Exit’s Hell, and the skull of Yorick, Prince Hamlet’s former court jester. While both catalysts for philosophical introspection, and employed by the authors in similar manners, the ornament and skull are contrasting representations of the uncertainty in death that looms over both plays.
The bronze ornament perched on the mantelpiece poses an immediate threat to Joseph Garcin’s concept and acceptance of his death. He understands his fate, but the ornament already beings to symbolize the meaning that Garcin cannot find in his life or death. The ornament subtly highlights Sartre’s existentialist themes in the play, but only Garcin interacts with the prop. “I assure you I’m quite conscious of my position,” he tells the valet. “A man’s drowning, choking, sinking by inches, till his eyes are just above water. And what does he see? A bronze atrocity…” (Sartre 4) That the ornament, amongst the other props resting in the room, appears to have no purpose or meaning confounds Garcin. What is he to do with his ornament? His first instinct, while alone in the room, is to touch and embrace it, as he has to embrac...


... middle of paper ...


...me what his actions of made of it. Another example of existence preceding essence, Hell to him on Earth was an intricate visual of torture with no inherent meaning to him. Hell to Garcin now is the struggle to accept his fate. However, at the play’s end, he is ready to move on, just like Hamlet.
Sartre and Shakespeare accomplished portraying man’s attempts at seeking the meaning of life in death. Garcin and Hamlet on surface are so different, but grapple with the same inner strife and question of their personal ability to accept fate. In order to look within themselves, they must look outwards, and find the ornament and skull as keys to the map of life.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Ed. Edgar V. Roberts. 9th Ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2009. Print

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Hamlet, By Kenneth Branagh And Hamlet

- William Shakespeare was a very famous English poet, playwright, and actor. One of the famous plays that he wrote was “Hamlet”. Hamlet is a very famous play and many play writers or directors interpret Shakespeare’s play differently. A Great scene to compares is Act5 scene 2. The two films that will be compared are “Hamlet” from 1996 directed by Kenneth Branagh and “Hamlet” from 2009 directed by Gregory Doran. The two different directors took the same play and made it reflect their own interpretation....   [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Hamlet, Gertrude]

Powerful Essays
1210 words (3.5 pages)

Hamlet 's Diversity By Hamlet Essay

- Hamlet’s Diversity Explained The unfortunate series of events in Hamlet’s life affected his personality directly. Hamlet has to go through his father’s death, the King at the time (University of Schmoop, 2011). Then, almost a month later, he goes through another traumatic event. Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, has now begun a relationship planning to marry no other than, Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius (2011). At this point obviously Hamlet is going to begin to question, did his mother have his father killed on purpose....   [tags: Characters in Hamlet, Hamlet, Gertrude]

Powerful Essays
1579 words (4.5 pages)

Essay on Hamlet - Hamlet Vs Self

- Hamlet vs self Hamlet is a play written by William Shakespeare in 1601. The play follows a young prince named Hamlet. Who returns home from school and discovers that his father has died, his uncle has married his mother, and ends up meeting the ghost of his father. The play has been a success since its release, having been performed in a run since its first production. Hamlet’s main enemy in this play is shown as the Uncle, who Hamlet learns from his father’s ghost early on killed his father. Hamlet’s worst enemy according to some scholars, is himself....   [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, KILL, Ghost]

Powerful Essays
1090 words (3.1 pages)

Comparing Hamlet And Hamlet By William Shakespeare Essay

- Juxtaposition is a device that is often used to enhance and relate certain aspects of a writing piece. William Shakespeare uses this device in his plays to emphasize characteristics, themes and even scenes. He does this so that the elements that are being highlighted show major significance throughout the tragedy. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet juxtaposition is evident in the circumstances of the characters as well as their morals. Characters in the play that are juxtaposed against each other are Hamlet with Laertes, Hamlet again with Fortinbras and Ophelia with Gertrude....   [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude]

Powerful Essays
1710 words (4.9 pages)

Essay about Hamlet, Laertes And Hamlet By William Shakespeare

- In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, many themes are explored that allow the audience to analyze into their deeper meanings. One example of such is the theme of revenge and its connection with one’s loyalty towards their father. This is seen clearly in the characters of Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras. Laertes is the son of Polonius, a nobleman of Denmark, while Fortinbras is the son of Fortinbras Sr., the deceased king of Norway. In regards to the structure of the play, both Laertes and Fortinbras serve as foils to oppose Hamlet....   [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude]

Powerful Essays
1017 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on William Shakespeare 's Hamlet - Hamlet

- William Shakespeare: Hamlet 1. Does Hamlet truly love Ophelia. Why or why not. • I do believe that Hamlet did truly love Ophelia. I say this because when watching and reading the play, the way he acted around her made the love seem pure and genuine. He also professed his love for her throughout the play; he stated that he loved her more than once. When Ophelia died it was obvious that Hamlet was hurt/sad about her death. If not for all the extra drama with Hamlet trying to avenge the death of his father, and Ophelia’s father and brother making her believe that Hamlet was trying to use her and he was above her means, I believe that they had a pretty good chance of making things work....   [tags: Gertrude, Characters in Hamlet, Hamlet]

Powerful Essays
1057 words (3 pages)

The Foils of Hamlet Essay

- The Foils of Hamlet Hamlet is dominated by an emotion which is inexpressible, because it is in excess of the facts as they appear.... We should have to understand things which Shakespeare did not understand himself." T.S. Eliot (Hamlet and His Problems) In the play Hamlet [Titles] by William Shakespeare the cast of main characters use the support given to them by the foils to enhance the play. A foil is a minor character who by simulations [?] and differences reveals character, and who, as an element of plot, is there for the more important character to talk to (vevra [sic] )....   [tags: Hamlet]

Free Essays
881 words (2.5 pages)

Hamlet's Delay in Hamlet by Shakespeare Essay

- In Act I scene V, Hamlet is told by his father’s ghost to “revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.” The ghost then goes on to tell Hamlet that as he was “sleeping in my orchard, A serpent stung me” and that “The serpent that did sting thy father’s life Now wears his crown.” Hamlet is told by the ghost to seek revenge, telling him that Claudius has corrupted Denmark and corrupted Gertrude, having seduced her in the foul lust of their incestuous marriage. The ghost urges Hamlet not to act against his mother in any way, telling him to “Leave her to heaven, And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge, To prick and sting her.” Hamlet delayed in seeking revenge for his father because he...   [tags: Hamlet, Shakespeare]

Free Essays
295 words (0.8 pages)

Character of Hamlet in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

- Character of Hamlet in Shakespeare's Hamlet Hamlet is a man of many discoveries. The tragic hero in Shakespeare's Hamlet undergoes many changes throughout the play. His mindset is set deep and far away from the physical world that both helps him and hinders him in his plight for revenge against his uncle, Claudius, and his mother. When Hamlet is first introduced in Act I, Scene II, the reader is shown the depths of his sorrow. The King asks Hamlet "How is it that the clouds still hang on you" and the Queen tells him to "Cast thy nighted color off." By these comments one can envision Hamlet as someone who appears and radiates out his sorrow over his father's death....   [tags: Shakespeare Hamlet]

Powerful Essays
1339 words (3.8 pages)

Hamlet's Frustration Essay

- Hamlet's Frustration In order to understand Hamlet, we must understand his frustration. This frustration is most clear in his famous monologue, famously beginning with the line "Oh what a rogue and peasant slave am I." This self-condemnation is contrasted by his admiration for the actor of the previous scene, who "in a fiction" is able to "force his soul to his own conceit." The word "soul" is an example of metonymy, as the soul represents the actor's "visage," "tears," "distraction," and "voice." Thus Hamlet equates "soul" with one's actions, so by his own comparison his soul is weak, as he does not take action against the king....   [tags: Hamlet]

Powerful Essays
1080 words (3.1 pages)