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Summary: the Dark Side of Wealth

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The foremost element of destruction in the world is when love is accompanied by wealth. This theme is portrayed in two treasured pieces of literature; ‘Hamlet’ by William Shakespeare and ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In both, the protagonists are willing to sacrifice all that they have to fulfill their unrealistic ambitions. Jay Gatsby’s obsessive longing for his beloved Daisy Buchanan drives him to his destruction. Similarly, Hamlet’s intense love for his father and his hatred towards his uncle play a major role in his tragedy.

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The strive for perfection and reaching for the impossible are the major factors of a person’s downfall. Jay Gatsby spends years of his life indulging in illegal activities to gain enough wealth to be able to throw extravagant lavish parties, all for a possible opportunity to see his beloved Daisy as Jordan tells Nick ‘I think he half expected her to wander into one of his parties, some night’.However, in the end, he loses his identity, life and those whom he values and loves. Hamlet is satisfied with modifying his life and his current relationships, all for the sake of seeking revenge for his beloved father. This leads him to lose his relationship with Ophelia. Although his hidden emotions towards her are deep and sincere. He realizes that he has lost very late; at the time of her burial when he hears his mother say ‘I hop ‘d thou shouldst have been mu Hamlet ‘s wife; I thought thy bride bed to have deck ‘d, sweet maid, And not t ‘ stew ‘d thy grave.’ He deeply regrets all the time he wasted in her presence.

Extreme desire for wealth and status is the root of evil, corruption, and wickedness. Gatsby’s parents are poor farmers. His mind never really accepts them for who they are. This life is not what he desires for himself. He longs for the finer things. When he gets the chance he leaves for West Egg, leaving behind the dull and non-glamourous life of his parents. Fleeing from his origin and true identity. As Nick describes him saying: “So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen-year-old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception, he was faithful to the end” Claudius; Hamlet’s uncle is a villain criminal. He betrays the bond of brotherhood by killing his brother in his sleep. The motive behind his evil action is his desire to obtain the throne. He then manipulates and deceives people into believing he is pure and innocent to earn their trust and support. Eventually, Hamlet finds out about his crime and seeks revenge for the soul of his beloved father by killing Claudius. This is evident when he says: ‘Does it not, think thee, stand me now upon—He that hath killed my king and whored my mother’. (5.2.63-64) His wrongfulness and unjustness lead to the loss of his wife, status and eventually his own life.  True love, peace, and happiness are accomplished through living a moralistic and modest life. Maintaining good relationships and taking responsibility contribute to make the world a great place. 

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