The Use of Internal Conflict in Literature Comparison Essay

The Use of Internal Conflict in Literature
A comparative analysis of the moral dilemmas featured in Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and Conrad's "Heart of Darkness."
# 144703 | 1,265 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2010 | GB
Published on Sep 24, 2010 in Literature (English) , English (Comparison) , Shakespeare (Hamlet)

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This paper compares the moral dilemmas experienced by the protagonists of "Hamlet" by William Shakespeare and "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad, and illustrates how they contribute to the meaning of the work as a whole. The paper explains that an internal conflict in a play or a novel often helps the evolution of its protagonist, but also adds to the plot itself, allowing it to reach a conclusion. In both "Heart Of Darkness" and "Hamlet," the paper asserts, the hero is faced with a dilemma between his accustomed values and those brought on by a change of circumstances. The paper discusses how the character of Marlow is compelled by Kurtz, a "civilised" man who had turned to savagery while in the Congo, but who is also aware of the immorality of his actions, and also focuses on the eponymous hero of Hamlet, who is torn between the Christian values he has learned and the revenge that the ghost of his father urges him to take on Claudius, who usurped the throne.

From the Paper:

"The conflict that Hamlet has to endure is perhaps more specific than that of Marlow. He is portrayed as a moral, rational character who has learnt to "turn the other cheek", yet his father, a supernatural apparition, ordered him to take revenge. Throughout the whole play, Hamlet will question himself and his surroundings to delay the actual act of revenge: First, the question is whether the ghost is good and is genuinely the apparition of his father. This is a perfectly reasonable question, and we witness Hamlet continue to discern illusion from reality. From his bitter remark, "seems, madam? I know not 'seems'" to his mother, we know that he is profoundly wounded by the hypocrisy he sees around him: His mother was supposed to have loved Old Hamlet dearly, yet she marries his brother only 2 months after the King's death. Ophelia, whom he trusted and had declared his own love for, betrayed him by allowing herself to be manipulated by her own father. Even those he thought were his friends, namely Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, revealed themselves to be at the service of the king. It seems that every relationship he had, whether it was family, love or friendship, had been corrupted."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare - Penguin Classics; New Ed 2005
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad - Penguin Classics (2 Aug 2007)

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

The Use of Internal Conflict in Literature (2010, September 24) Retrieved December 10, 2019, from

MLA Format

"The Use of Internal Conflict in Literature" 24 September 2010. Web. 10 December. 2019. <>