Tragedy in "Hamlet" and "Mama Day" Analytical Essay

Tragedy in "Hamlet" and "Mama Day"
A discussion of the elements of classic tragedy in Gloria Naylor's "Mama Day" and William Shakespeare's "Hamlet."
# 46321 | 1,119 words | 0 sources | 2003 | US
Published on Jan 04, 2004 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis) , Shakespeare (Hamlet)

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This paper examines how both Gloria Naylor's "Mama Day" and William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" exemplify the qualities of classic tragedy. It looks at how "Mama Day" is a mimicry of Shakespeare's use of elements to completely delineate tragedy that is, however, marked with contradiction. It analyzes how the characters and plot in each work follow the general rules of tragedy in divergent ways and how George and Hamlet are proved to be the tragic heroes. It shows how their dissimilar paths through life guide them both to parallel endings and how deliberation versus action and knowledge versus acceptance are the two questions that lead each tragic hero to his death.

From the Paper:

"The suffering in a tragedy is characterized as exceptional and unexpected. Before the murder of King Hamlet, Denmark was in all its glory, occupying part of Norway and Hamlet was a content student at the University of Wittenberg. The state of everything changes when Claudius' scheme of domination is put into play as he kills Hamlet's father and marries his mother, Gertrude. This creates a strong contrast to the prior glory the characters had. The characters of Mama Day similarly displayed a prosperity crushed by conflict. George and Ophelia, though two strong-willed adults, finally found harmony with one another. Their two opposite upbringings and philosophies balanced, and they had a successful married life. George's long-anticipated trip to Willow Springs began their final plight."

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