Hamlet and J. Alfred Prufrock are two of the most well-known characters in literature. Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, is a character who wrestles with his own conscience and whether he should take revenge on his uncle for killing his father or not. Hamlet is known for being indecisive and overly thoughtful.
J. Alfred Prufrock, on the other hand, is a character who feels immense anxiety about his life and what he should do with it. He doubts himself at every turn and often wishes he could go back in time to make different choices.
Both Hamlet and J. Alfred Prufrock share commonalities in that they are both deeply introspective characters who examine their own lives closely. They also both doubt themselves a great deal and worry about their place in the world.
However, Hamlet is much more action-oriented than J. Alfred Prufrock, who often just sits and ponders. Hamlet is also much more outspoken than J. Alfred Prufrock, who is often very shy and reluctant to speak up. Ultimately, Hamlet and J. Alfred Prufrock are two very different characters but both are incredibly intriguing and worth reading about.
Hamlet and Prufrock have three significant things in common: they both question and analyze their circumstances, as well as postpone. I’ll show you how they deal with their problems through quotations, and how a life of performing so has impacted them. Hamlet is an analytical individual, who carefully plans and analyzes his actions before taking any action. Hamlet has a method of dealing with difficulties. He starts by asking questions, then rationalizing the situation before delaying it.
Hamlet is constantly postponing his revenge. Hamlet’s procrastination is due to the fear of making a mistake. Hamlet realizes that his actions will have serious consequences and he does not want to make the wrong decision. Hamlet also questions the motives of others and their intentions.
Hamlet is always trying to figure out people’s true motives. For example, Hamlet says in Act III, Scene I: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Hamlet is saying that Gertrude is protesting too much about her innocence, so Hamlet suspects that she is guilty. Hamlet is always trying to figure out what people are hiding and what their true motives are.
In act 1, scene 5 of Hamlet, an example of his critical thinking becomes obvious. “Murder… my uncle?” says Hamlet in the fifth line. 1 He rationalizes: Yes, from the table of my memory I will erase all stupid fond recollections/And thy commandment will live alone 2 It would appear that enraged by his father’s death, Hamlet would now go through with the commandment; but he does not.
Hamlet’s procrastination might be linked to his contemplation about the moral implications of murder and the act of revenge. Hamlet is also aware that he may not succeed in avenging his father.
In “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, Prufrock also contemplates taking action, but decides against it. He too questions the morality of his potential actions and their consequences.
Hamlet’s inactivity and overthinking lead to his death in a swordfight with Laertes. His procrastination also leads to the deaths of Ophelia, Laertes, Gertrude, Polonius, and eventually Claudius. Hamlet is directly responsible for all of the deaths in the play as a result of his inaction. It’s conceivable that if Hamlet had killed Claudius sooner, Polonius wouldn’t have been murdered; Ophelia would not have committed suicide. Hamlet wouldn’t have needed to kill Laertes or Gertrude drink poison. J Alfred Prufrock also engaged in similar behaviors.
Prufrock spends his time overthinking things and never taking any action. This eventually leads to his paralysis. Prufrock is also indirectly responsible for the death of Emily, because if he would have acted on his feelings, she would have still been alive. Hamlet and J. Alfred Prufrock are both examples of people who let their thoughts get in the way of their actions, which leads to disastrous consequences.
He also doubts, justifies, and delays, but in a different sequence. Prufrock questions, postpones, and rationalizes. Prufrock is concerned about the people at the party. He worries that they will not accept him. He fears rejection and is too modest to say what he thinks so he postpones. He perceives others as shallow because “I’ve met them before; I’ve known them all.”
Hamlet, on the other hand, is highly critical of everyone around him. Hamlet sees the people as hypocrites and believes that they are all hiding something. Hamlet is not afraid to speak his mind. The most famous example of this is when Hamlet confronts his mother about her relationship with Claudius. Hamlet is able to see through people’s facades and get to the heart of the matter.
Both Hamlet and J. Alfred Prufrock are deeply introspective characters who question their place in society. They both have similar doubts and fears about their lives but express them in different ways. Hamlet is more outwardly critical of those around him while Prufrock is more self-conscious and withdrawn.
Prufrock appears to be more like Polonius, a seasoned attendant who is wise and eager to please everyone. Prufrock rationalizes his procrastination, coming to the conclusion that there will be “time yet for a hundred choices, / a hundred images and revisions.” 21 He knows he is not like the other party goers. Despite this, he lacks the motivation or willpower to demonstrate how different he is out of fear of being “sometimes almost a fool.” 22 He’s afraid no one would comprehend him if they did understand him. Because of his delay, he has nothing to show for it.
Hamlet, on the other hand, is always in a hurry. Hamlet knows what he wants and he is not afraid to go after it. Hamlet is also very aware of his surroundings and the people in it. Hamlet is able to take action and make decisions where Prufrock can only sit and ponder.
Hamlet is able to see through people where Prufrock can only see what he wants to see. Hamlet has more control over his life while Prufrock seems to just let life happen to him. Hamlet is able to be decisive when Prufrock can not be. Hamlet also has a strong sense of morality which guides his actions where Prufrock seems to lack any sort of principle or ethical code.