The Uncontrollable Factors of Life in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon

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According to Hamlet, Shakespeare is stating that an individual does not have complete freedom in his/her life. The character Hamlet, created by Shakespeare, is the Prince of Denmark. Being born a prince, Hamlet has little control over the course of his life. Using imagery, allusions, and metaphors, Shakespeare shows that when one is born as royalty, many things have already been decided for them and they can’t always do what they want. Besides Hamlet’s identity, Shakespeare included many other factors that affected Hamlet’s life without his control, such as the environment he’s in, the certain events that occurs to him, and the people surrounding him. However, Shakespeare also shows that an individual do have the freedom to make their own decisions and perform their own actions. And all this, things within and without Hamlet’s control, conjures up his course of life.

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Hamlet was born as the prince of Denmark and because he is royalty, his freedom is limited. Like Laertes said to Ophelia, “…his greatness weigh’d, his will is not his own.” Hamlet couldn’t do what he wants to. His life would always be affected by who he is. Along with his identity, Hamlet also couldn’t control certain events that happen to him, such as his father’s death or Gertrude’s and Claudius’ wedding soon afterwards. These unfortunate events also play a role in shaping his life and who he is. Hamlet doesn’t have the freedom to stop these things from happening. However, Hamlet has the freedom to react and respond to them a certain way, such as the time when he decided to take revenge on Claudius for murdering his father. This incident along with the others Hamlet have experienced, lead to his downfall.

The story of Hamlet shows that no individual can have complete freedom in his/her life. Hamlet’s identity and the situations he was in prove that it’s not possible for him to have full control of his life. He could control his emotions and responses to certain things, but he couldn’t control the happenings or the people around him.

According to Song of Solomon, Morrison is stating that no individual could have complete control over his/her life. Relationships play a significant role in this novel and these relationships between the characters could affect the amount of freedom a character has. Along with the relationships, the character’s background, identity, the situations he’s in, and the people surrounding him could affect the course of his life. Using some southern gothic elements and magic realism, Morrison shows how society can put a huge impact on an individual’s life. However, the individual has the freedom to make his own decisions and have at least some control over his life.

Being the youngest in the Dead family, Milkman has a bit more freedom than his sisters First Corinthians and Magdalene called Lena. However, Milkman still doesn’t have total control in his life. His life is still affected by those he is connected to and situations he is caught in, such as Freddie catching his mom breastfeeding him and nicknaming him Milkman or Hagar trying to kill him. Milkman isn’t the only character whose freedom is limited but also Macon Dead Jr., Guitar, Pilate, and almost every other character in this novel. Although certain unfortunate events could help shape a person’s life, the person himself would always have some affect. Pilate was born without a bellybutton and this information about her has caused a lot of people to fear her. However, although she doesn’t fit in with the rest of society, she tries to help and still plays her role in the community. This shows that an individual couldn’t have total control in his/her life but they could always change certain things if they want to.

The Song of Solomon shows that no individual can have full control in his/her life but they do have the freedom to change the direction that certain things are headed. Any character in this novel can’t help what others think of him or how they can affect him. This novel shows how society can have a great impact on an individual. However, an individual can make certain decisions and deal with certain situations the way they want to.

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The Uncontrollable Factors of Life in William Shakespeare's Hamlet and Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon. (2022, Dec 07). Retrieved February 3, 2023 , from

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