A Comparison Of Hamlet And McMurphy In "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest"



It is suggested that in modern literature, the true element of tragedy
is not captured because the protagonist is often of the same social status as
the audience, and therefor, his downfall is not tragic. This opinion, I find,
takes little consideration of the times in which we live. Indeed, most modern
plays and literature are not about monarchs and the main character is often
equal to the common person; this, however, does not mean the plot is any less
miserable nor the outcome any less wretched. The first work I have chosen
proves this fact. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, a first novel by Ken Kesey
published in 1962, is a contemporary tragedy describing the downfall of a
rigidly ...

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of anti-heroes in tragedy, and how this relates to
the characters of R.P.McMurphy and Hamlet, an analysis of the motivation of each
is necessary. Motivation is the source of all action, and only in this area
these two characters similar to a traditional protagonist. As the character
himself evolves through the course of the plot, so do their motives. Hamlet and
McMurphy begin at different points with different purposes, but soon meet with a
common incentive. For Hamlet, this initial impulse is derived from his
embitterment towards his mother for remarrying so soon after his father's death
and for selecting her late husband's brother Claudius, as her second partner.
In a witty statement to his closest friend Horatio, he expresses his
indignation; "The funeral baked meats/ Did coldly furnish forth the marriage
tables." Entirely unrelated, is McMurphy's need to be "top man". This is the
original driving force that inspires him to challenge Nurse Ratchet, the
antagonist, for ...

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got that same puzzled look on his
face like there's something isn't right, something he can't put his finger on."
The turning point arrives as Ratchet decides to take advantage of McMurphy's
subdued state, and reclaim her exclusive access to the "game's room". The room
is symbolic of her power of the whole ward, and her sly manipulation of them all.
McMurphy realizes this with her attempted repossession, and thus the revenge
begins. It is apparent to him what is occurring to the patients and to himself;
he will no longer allow it to continue:

"The iron in his boot heels cracked lightening out of the tile. He was the
logger again, the swaggering gambler, the big redheaded brawling ...

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A Comparison Of Hamlet And McMurphy In "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest". (2004, November 14). Retrieved December 5, 2020, from http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Comparison-Hamlet-McMurphy-One-Flew-Over/17490
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"A Comparison Of Hamlet And McMurphy In "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest"." Essayworld.com. November 14, 2004. Accessed December 5, 2020. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Comparison-Hamlet-McMurphy-One-Flew-Over/17490.
"A Comparison Of Hamlet And McMurphy In "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest"." Essayworld.com. November 14, 2004. Accessed December 5, 2020. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Comparison-Hamlet-McMurphy-One-Flew-Over/17490.
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Added: 11/14/2004 02:36:27 PM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2424
Pages: 9

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