Two of the most claimed for studies under Shakespeare’s works are those of “Hamlet” and “Macbeth”. While “Hamlet” is a rather extended play with intense diatribe on the complexities of human nature including a play within a play theme, “Macbeth” is a rather short one which quickly leads the protagonist on the path to self destruction and downfall.
“Hamlet” as a play is much different to “Macbeth” and although they have many shared themes including political notions of right heirs and usurpation, the two protagonists are very different from one another. The examples of these two plays bring in two very diverse treatments of tragedies that the genius of Shakespeare was capable of. In fact Macbeth comes as the antagonist in the play while no matter what Hamlet does, our sympathies largely tilt towards him. Macbeth began as a loyal vassal but then continued on his downward projection of ambitions fueled by the prophecies as well as his unscrupulous wife.
Unchecked in his hunger for power he goes beyond all humane considerations even though his mind is always debilitating between decisions and trying to question his actions, he is swept down by the helpful current of cruel intentions to fuel his ambitions.
Hamlet on the other hand becomes a murdered for a cause and the revenge of his father’s murder becomes the more loyal seething anger that propels him to those actions. Hamlet became more like the avenging angel who wanted to bring peace to his father’s soul and yet ended up with multiple murders in his question for justice and truth and even ending himself. Hamlet’s loss of balance and deep depression inculcates greater sympathy from the viewers and readers. Also Hamlet is this young man, almost naïve and hurt for holding up his high ideals saved for the world around him which he cannot make peace with.
The play is a tragedy that tries to save balance in a world that has lost its place in ideals and familiar values.
Macbeth on the other hand is an autumnal character who could have been weighed wiser with the intensity of political and administrative awareness he would have gained. But he comes from the point of a planned treachery though he does not get propelled to them by solo motives alone. He gets conjoined help for his plans through the supernatural spirits and his wife and gets drowned in the tide which ultimately kills him.
In some way he had lost control over his cruise even though he was trying to control every aspect of his moves. In case of Hamlet, there is a predisposed surrender. He had always been without any personal ambition but been driven by the cause of justice much greater than himself.
This way he could be seen to be predisposed surrender of his own life from the very beginning of the play itself.