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From Royalty to Immigrant:Two Different Main Character in Hamlet and In the Skin

2023-09-03 来源: 类别: Paper范文

 From ancient to eighteenth Century, European literature works are like the stars in the sky, shine with great splendor. And the biggest and brightest stars belong to Shakespeare. "Hamlet" is not only a masterpiece during Shakespeare's drama creation peak, but also the highest achievement of British and European Renaissance bourgeois literature.It is a great artistic achievement,like Ben Jonson wrote in the inscription for the publication of this play said: "not of an age, but belongs to all the times."The tragedy "Hamlet" is based on the Danish historical legends, it describes the story of the Danish Prince Hamlet seeking his revenge.But in Shakespeare's work things are a lot more than the general content of bloody revenge, but also contains the ancient historical story as well as thoughts of new era , with the thought of humanism,Shakespeare turns an old story into a realistic social tragedy.
  Canadian writer Michael Ondaatje,who wrote the novel “In the Skin of A Lion”, was born in Sri Lanka, after his parents divorced and his father’s death,he came to Canada in 1962. His early works are filled with Sri Lanka, the Australian outback, American western and other exotic images. Although these excellent works made he soon joined in the list of Canadian mainstream writers, his works "content and view has made him an outsider".Published in 1987, "In the Skin of A Lion" is the first novel that use Canada as a background.This novel is a story happened in Toronto, but the main characters,immigrants, of the story is neither from Angelo Celt nor French Canadian mainstream society, but from Macedonia, Finland and Italy.
  This essay is an attempt to reveal the differences between the Prince Hamlet,the main character in Hamlet,and Patrick Lewis,the main character in In the Skin of A Lion.By analyzing the main characters’behavior,A argument is also established that human are born with similar characters but greatly influenced by family and social environment.

Analysis of Hamlet’s complex character
  This section will analyze the complexity of Hamlet’s character by Hamlet’s different relationships with other characters in the play. Hamlet’s character change with the development of the society and the changes in the royalty.
  First of all,Hamlet is a Prince filled with love and ideals.In German Wittenberg university Hamlet was influenced by humanism, and formed various ideals about life and society,which are different from feudalism.He dreamed of a wonderful world, beautiful people and good feelings between people. He described the world as the "garden",  man as "the essence of the universe, the paragon of animals". He respected the friendship, loyalty to love, believed in the equal love and he was even willing to make friends with his ministers, treated them as his friends. The core of his "love" is,of course,the humanism. But as a matter of fact,this are only his fantasy about life and society.It can also said that during this period, Hamlet still not open his eyes to look at the real world. The dark cruel reality is an objective existence, which is beyond people's will.
  Secondly,Hamlet is a Prince filled with grief and disappointment.He returned to Denmark with all his love and passion but all he seen is the dark side od the society: His father’s sudden death, his uncle’s usurpation of the throne and mother’s remarriage.The whole court lead a life of luxury and debauchery,his old friend became a traitor and his beloved one was used as an enemy’s weapon against him.He found that there is a reef under every tide and his soul suffered after his “love “was destroyed by the harsh reality.He no longer saw this world as a “garden” but a large prison,full of many cells and Denmark in front of him was “one of the worst”.Although Hamlet’s “love” was destroyed, he is not self loathing.He resented this world,but after seeing the true color of the society,he realized his responsibility is to change and reform.
  Thirdly,Hamlet is the Prince of tragedy.Hamlet’s great expectations died with his enemies, resulting in a tragedy.But he still believe in future.Before he died, he told his devoted friend Horatio that:
“Oh, good Horatio, what a wounded name. Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me! If you did ever hold me in your heart, absent you from felicity awhile, And in this harsh world draw your breath in pain. To tell my story. ”
  The meaning of this sentence is profound, he let Horatio continue to expose the evil forces, spread the ideal of humanism all over the world.Even Hamlet was dying,he still shone a spark of hope,a radiation of the light of ideal.
 In a word, Hamlet was a giant of the age, a strong warrior, a temperamental melancholy prince. Although he was melancholy,he did not compromised.The complexity of his character made Hamlet immortal model of times.

Analysis of Patrick Lewis’s character
  This section is aim to analyze Patrick Lewis, the main character in In the Skin of A Lion.In the first chapter of the story, we saw a boy in the house,we read his thoughts and feelings, but not until he gave the moths names did we know his name. The names he gave are not real, and Patrick himself was not a real person,either. This is the "In the skin of A lion" in Toronto -- a historical city full of real and fictional characters under writers’pen.
  To Begin with,Patrick is a confused worker who found himself at a loss.Historic figures often gave inspirations to Michael Ondaatje.In the "In the Skin of A lion", a Canadian unofficial history book, Ondaatje tried to let us see the immigrants living in the dark edge. These immigrants built the Bloor Street viaduct, the east waterworks ,logged in the northern region and digged tunnel in Ontario lake in dangerous conditions throughout Toronto.When Patrick first came to Toronto, he stood in the empty station and watched his echo disappeared in the United station.He came from rural areas, therefore he is at the edge of the city. In order to make a living, he became a "seeker", looking for the missing millionaire Dinsmore, and thus met Dinsmore's lover Clara. After Clara left him to be with Dinsmore, he became a tunnel worker. They slipped on the wet clay and they urinated in the work place.After a  whole day's work, Patrick and others came out of the tunnel with clay on their clothes .
  Secondly,Patrick is a silent worker who struggled with English.Michael Ondaatje not only let all the readers see the immigrants, but also hear their voices.But this does not mean that all the immigrants are free to speak out.The language barrier plays an significant part in their silence.Take the example Alice,after being insulted, the only thing she did was waving her arms and did not say a word---because none of the immigrants speaks English.After coming to Toronto,like other immigrants, Patrick can not find a single place where their own language are spoken.Language not only made them isolated from the mainstream of society, but also quarantined with each other.He almost know nothing at all about these people around, only know how they move or laugh.Finally one day, Patrick learned the word iguana in "Macedonian", and used the term to explain to his hawker that what he wanted to buy are vetch. Patrick,who always felt that he was the stranger among the people,suddenly found himself “shaking hands”, “hugging” with “them”.He took the cake that they handed over,the apron to wipe his tears.He crossed the language barriers and became a member of the group.
  In conclusion,this study is designed to compare two different characters behind Hamlet and In the Skin of A Lion.The study aims to contribute to current literature in a few important ways. First, by examining analyzing the complexity of Hamlet’s character by Hamlet’s different relationships with other characters in the play,this essay point out that:1.Hamlet is a Prince filled with love and ideals;2.Hamlet is a Prince filled with grief and disappointment;3.Thirdly,Hamlet is the Prince of tragedy.Secondly,by relating to the social background of the In the Skin of A Lion,this essay point out that:1.Patrick is a confused worker who found himself at a loss;2.Secondly,Patrick is a silent worker who struggled with English.
  Comparing this two different charters,we can draw a conclusion that family and social environment shape a person’s character.On the one hand,Hamlet was a prince, therefore, the wellbeing of his country is his main concern.On the other hand,Patrick was a poor worker and he is occupied with his job and the language barrier.Despite its limitations, the research will likely extend existing research on Hamlet background setting in important ways. In addition, it can also lead readers to a better understanding of Canadian immigrant cultural.

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