Nobody downloaded yet

Henry James' The Turn of the Screw and Shakespeare's Hamlet. Comparison and Contrast - Essay Example

Comments (0) Cite this document
Two stories, Henry James' “The Turn of the Screw” and Shakespeare's “Hamlet” both deal with the themes of the supernatural and madness. However, these themes are given different treatments in each of these stories…
Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER92.1% of users find it useful
Henry James The Turn of the Screw and Shakespeares Hamlet. Comparison and Contrast
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample
"Henry James' The Turn of the Screw and Shakespeare's Hamlet. Comparison and Contrast"

Download file to see previous pages This paper aims to prove the existence of these themes in both texts, and how the differences in their treatment affect the overall plot and moral of both stories. The Supernatural The supernatural theme is one of the guiding forces in these literary pieces. The difference lies in what these ghosts do in the stories. In “The Turn of the Screw,” the ghosts do not do anything tangible and seem to be existing only in the governess' mind. In fact, the governess, in one of her conversations with Mrs. Grose about the ghost, says excitedly, “I know, I know, I know” when Mrs. Grose asks her “But how do you know?” (James 25). Mrs. Grose's reaction is one of astonishment and anticipation, but not of belief. This is consistent throughout the novel. Also, the ghosts' identity are presented according to how the governess sees them. She is the only one who actually admits to encountering the ghosts, so it is impossible to really declare the veracity of their existence. This presents readers with the dilemma of distinguishing the governess' state of mind --- she could either be in desperate desire to protect the children, or she might merely be hallucinating. During Mrs. Grose and the governess' first conversation about the ghost, it is apparent that the former, despite acting in astonishment to the latter's tale, does not speak of having encountered the ghost in the house (James 21-26). Also, when the narrator starts to read according to the governess' personal notes, the narrative is filled with subjective statements such as “I remember,” “I recollect,” “I recognized,” and “I reflected” (James 7-9). This provides the possibility of reading the governess as either insane (antagonist) or overprotective (protagonist), and the children as either victims (protagonists) or just plain evil (antagonists). With these two opposing reading of the characters, the plot can then be looked at as a story where either the governess is the victim of the children's actions, or the children are the victims of the governess' mentality. It is worth remembering that during the 19th century, faith in the traditional teachings of Christianity is on the decline (Smith and Haas 26). The supernatural theme in the story could be a reflection of how people, during the Victorian period, try to seek for ways to accept and understand death (Smith and Haas 29). On the contrary, in “Hamlet,” the ghost instructs Hamlet to avenge his death --- a solid action. It is true that Gertrude, Hamlet's mother and widow of the former king, does not see the ghost in the closet scene, so it can be argued that the ghost is merely a product of Hamlet's imagination. However, Bernardo, Marcellus and Horatio witness the appearance of the ghost even before Hamlet does. Horatio, the level-headed friend of Hamlet, even says “At least the whisper goes so: our last king, / Whose image even but now appear'd to us (Shakespeare I.1.80-1). The ghost is Hamlet's father, the former King of Denmark. It can be said that Shakespeare maximizes the “power and magic” of the supernatural, where the ghost can choose who sees it. This creates the assurance that Gertrude is free from guilt regarding her ex-husband's murder, and leaves the audience with the question about the nature of Claudius and Gertrude's relationship. Letting Gertrude see the ghost alters the plot in some ways and turns her from protagonist to antagonist. Also, it would render her purposeless in assuring the rest of the characters that Hamlet is indeed insane (Knights and Knights ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
(“Henry James' The Turn of the Screw and Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay”, n.d.)
Retrieved from
(Henry James' The Turn of the Screw and Shakespeare'S Hamlet Essay)
“Henry James' The Turn of the Screw and Shakespeare'S Hamlet Essay”, n.d.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment or rate a document
Shakespeare: Hamlet
...of the of the Concerned 12 July Hamlet and his Struggle against Evil Introduction All great tragedies depend for their appeal on the fact that there is something universal in their theme and relevance. Hamlet also depicts the struggle between good and evil. The evil which Hamlet has to struggle against is an inherited evil, and not one which is of his own creation. The task presented by the evil to Hamlet is overwhelming in its complexity and he simply cannot look to any human assistance. His family, his sweetheart, and his school friends, all appear to turn against him and to place themselves with the evil force to which Hamlet stands...
5 Pages(1250 words)Thesis
... is any evidence to claim that Hamlet is really mad as he demonstrates over and over again throughout the play that his is not really mad. Work Cited Shakespeare, William. A New Variorum Edition of Shakespeare. Edt. Furness, Horace Howard. Vol. 3. 6th Edn. J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1877. Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Monologue Archive. 2003. s/shakespeare_002.html>... English Literature ic and Modern) 04 January, Shakespeare/HAMLET One of the most debated topics by literature scholars regarding the play “Hamlet” by Shakespeare is whether Hamlet is really mad or not. Madness is the state of mind in which rational thinking is absent and the individual does not have an awareness of...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay
The Turn of the Screw
...A Critical Assessment of “Fictional Reality is Nothing but as We Imagine it” in terms of James’s “The Turn of the ScrewHenry James’s novel, “The Turn of the Screw”, poses a serious question: what is reality in the independent world of literature? Indeed, his novel seems to tell his readers that literature is “an annexed but independent world in which nothing is right but as we rightly imagine it” (James 2). According to him, fictional reality is, in fact, the fabrication of the physical/concrete reality with a perpetual urge to convince the readers about the credibility of what a writer believes to be...
3 Pages(750 words)Essay
Literary analysis on The turn of the screw by Henry James
...of the Teacher English of the Concerned 2 December The Turn of the Screw- The Intermingling of the Believable and the Deceptive There is no denying the fact that The Turn of the Screw written by Henry James happens to be both an enervating as well as a deeply engrossing ghost novella. Actually published in 1898, this immaculate work of ghost fiction still does enjoy much interest and following. The Turn of the Screw does tend to differ from other works affiliated to the same genre in the sense that it is open to varied and diverse interpretations and conclusions. It does not happen to be a ghost story...
6 Pages(1500 words)Essay
The Turn of The Screw
... A. "A Postmodern Turn of the Turn of the Screw." The Henry James Review 19.3 (1998): 245-55. ProQuest. 12 Dec. 2013 . James, Henry. The Turn of the Screw. California: Mundus Publishing, 1975. Print. Lundberg, Sanna. Fantastic Narrations: A Comparison of the Structures of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw and Doris Lessing’s The Fifth Child. Miami: Lund University. Print. Wolff, Robert Lee. "The Genesis Of The "Turn Of The Screw." American Literature 13.1 (1941): 1. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.... “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James Henry James’ novel “The Turn of the Screw” is simply one...
6 Pages(1500 words)Essay
Turn of the screw
...1. What do you make of the ending The ending is ambiguous that it had managed to keep readers hanging with suspicions, having literary critics digging and pinning for more. At the very end, even the death of a character (Miles) did not lead into a definite conclusion. It could be a gothic fiction having the child taken by the ghost, or a tale of an insane lady, for it somehow provides suspicions that all apparitions were just in the governess' evil, if not psychopathic mind of which had been so possessive that it had caused the child's death. 2. What can we make of the absent uncle The absent Uncle was a person who was so busy for such obligation, so he's more than willing and very capable of paying someone to do that job... What do you...
2 Pages(500 words)Book Report/Review
The Turn of the Screw
...Topic: The Turn of the Screw (Henry James) Insert Insert Insert The Turn of the Screw it is a short novel written by Henry James (1843-1916). It was first published in 1989. It is basically a horror or scary story. The time or the era the story revolves around is the 19th century. Due to its vague content and narrative skills, the book apparently went through various interpretations and critics. It is a text that can have different interpretations, giving the story a three dimensionality. The book is both criticised and praised a lot for its ambiguous content. That is the unique feature of the book's...
10 Pages(2500 words)Book Report/Review
The Turn of the Screw
...She showed it step by step and room by room and secret by secret Secret and criticism in The Turn of the Screw In interpreting Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, it is important to acknowledge the role of secrets along the story. It begins with a prologue by an unnamed narrator, in which Douglas, a guest in a country house where other ghost stories are told, reads a manuscript containing a mysterious story. Douglas’s tale has not the form of the typical ghost story. Written by the person who had the experience (a governess), it arouses a lot of feelings in Douglas, who states that the story was committed to him and would be told for the...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay
Hamlet (Shakespeare
...that Claudius is after his life too. Due to these turmoils, he declares that he would turn violent and he asserts:"O, from this time forth, / My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth’. By the end of the story, he kills Claudius and Laertes and ends up dead after being stabbed by poisoned spear. In conclusion, Hamlet presents the private lives of the public figures in the play . A scrutiny of the play leaves no doubt that the writer of the play had aimed at revealing the dark private lives of the apparently perfect public figures in the society. After long admiration of King Claudius, the playwright reveals how inhuman and power thirsty he could be, to the extent of killing his brother, just to arise...
3 Pages(750 words)Essay
Shakespeare Hamlet
...Hamlet by William Shakespeare Insanity can be defined as the of being seriously mentally ill or madness. Symptoms vary from one person to another. Insanity may show itself through guilt, suicidal thoughts, insomnia, faulty judgment, psychopathic behavior, nervousness or close association with evil forces. The relationship between a character and other characters in relation to his behavior can be used to establish whether that particular character is insane. Due to his fascination with the human mind, Shakespeare examines the reasons behind insanity and how it is portrayed in his play. Through the characterization of Hamlet, Shakespeare is able to...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.
Let us find you another Essay on topic Henry James' The Turn of the Screw and Shakespeare's Hamlet. Comparison and Contrast for FREE!
Contact Us