Comparative Essay Sample: Little Children and Hamlet

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1756 Words
Date:  2021-06-24


After reading intensively Little Children by Tom Perrotta and Hamlet by William Shakespeare, one can understand profoundly the struggles people face socially, economically and politically, which we cannot control in day to day activities. Human character is vengeance, blood thirst and toughness. Life, in general, is seen as unforgiving and not sympathetic. Hence, we are forced to work extra hard to make ends meet. In addition, we are required to develop good relations with others to avoid collision with them. The relevance of the novels is to liberalize people into living a better life both socially, economically and politically. To create a more cohesive society where individuals live in mutual understanding and tolerance people need to be more liberal minded and this novel aims to create this awareness and empower people to achieve higher standards of living.

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Hamlet Summary and Analysis

Hamlet by Shakespeare is ranked among literature works in the world as the most influential and powerful play. This story was derived from the legendary amulet and ur-hamlet by Elizabethan. The hamlet synopsis sees Prince Hamlet making a vow to avenge his father died after his ghost visited him and exposed Claudius as his murderer. The latter then married Gertrude, Hamlet's father, wife and took his throne. However, he ends up mad before accomplishing his task as result of his contemplative and thoughtful nature. This raises concern about making Claudius and Gertrude hire Hamlet's friends in an attempt to unravel Hamlet's strange behavior. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, friends to Hamlet, spy on a conversation between Hamlet and Ophelia, Polonius, daughter after he suggested a possible relation between the two which drove Hamlet mad. However, Hamlet turns Ophelia down: ordering her into sisterhood, proofing their suspicions wrong. As the plot gets underway, Hamlet comes up with an idea to test Claudius' guilt after some actors visited Elsinore. The actors will perform a similar scene close to the events which saw his father killed by his uncle. If guilty his uncle would apparently react. When the play was performed, Claudius couldn't hold it anymore, so he walked out of the room proving his guilt. In return, Hamlet decides to kill him but finds him praying. This makes his uncle more paranoid and decides to send Hamlet to England immediately. Before his forced exile in England, Hamlet kills Polonius. He does this act of murder to the wrong person as he confuses Polonius for his wicked and power centered uncle who was hiding under her mothers bed. As a result, he is abruptly banished to England with strict orders to be killed.

Due to his father's death, Ophelia becomes mad and dies after drowning. This enrages Laertes, son to Polonius and vows to avenge their death. On arrival, he is blackmailed by Claudius to kill Hamlet for his fathers and sister's death. Claudius poisons Laertes blade and the goblet which Hamlet will drink in case he wins. As Ophelia's burial progresses, Hamlet returns, attacking Laertes declaring his love for Ophelia. They fight using swords, and Hamlet strikes the 1st hit and declines his uncle's goblet. Gertrude drinks the goblet instead, killing her swiftly. Polonius' son eventually wounds Hamlet but he does not die immediately. His own sword hits Laertes and after disclosing Claudius' responsibility for Hamlet mother's death, he succumbs to the sword's poison. Claudius was eventually stabbed and forced to drink the remaining poison by Hamlet. They both die after Hamlet has achieved revenge. This script has distinct themes seen in life.

Main themes of Hamlet

The main goal of the Hamlet play is to be ambitious in life and that in war there is no victor. This is indicated where in the play Hamlet and his wicked uncle, Claudius die in his aim to avenge his fathers death that was out of the selfish ambition and greed for power by his brother. In the Hamlet ending, Hamlet avenges and dies a death worthy of as he accomplishes what he had vowed to himself to do. In his struggle to empower himself politically hence of therefore economically Claudius is driven by malice and selfish ambition to create rivalry and bitterness among individuals as a result of one selfish act that leads to the death of many Hamlet characters such as Polonius, Ophelia, Laertes, and Hamlet. Greed for power is therefore seen as an act that leads to the evil that destroys not only the ambitious individual but also leads to the destruction of innocent people in the society and leads to a state of lack of peace and cohesion in the society.

Little Children by Tom Perrotta

Little Children narrate a story about the life of young parents who end up in the daily ups and downs of middle-class family life. They struggle to make ends meet and bring up a well funded family that can meet the activities of daily living that are considered essential for survival and struggles to achieve standards of living. Tom, however, does not visualize the dream of most Americans as it is. In the Little Children book, the characters are unhappy with the living standards and health. The players perceive Their living standards are not what they would deem to be acceptable standards of living but rather below average or average at most. Individuals are unable to meet their health needs which is one of the essential components of an up to standard life. In addition, they have to strive to accomplish their dreams of community status, self-fulfillment and togetherness in the family. They, therefore, have to spend a lot into public opinion which is a source of prestige for the individual families. All in all the struggle continues to ensure the standards of living are raised, and people can cater for their health as well as social needs.

Sarah is introduced at the beginning of the Little Children novel. She marries eventually as everyone would want to meet the expectation of the society in general. This aim of living according to society's norms and expectations sort of leads to frustrations in Sarah's life that she finds hard to deal with. In spite of her having an affair with another lady during her campus life and as she worked hard for her Ph.D. She ends up being married to a boring, older Richard as husband and a three-year-old kid, Lucy. Sarah falls into the society's life expectation where one is supposed to fall in line exactly as little obedient children thinking she had made a choice. Most of Sarah's mornings are spent on the playground with other young mothers who in a way she does not like. Mary Ann heads the group which strictly keeps her kids on a tight schedule on time for sleeping and taking snacks including her life of sex which is once every week. This is totally in contrast with her early life, but she has to meet the expectations of the people.

Margaret Atwoods feminist dystopia, a book, depicts Sarahs simple life as just a painfully ordinary person destined to live a painfully ordinary life. As the play gets midway the story changes to Todd, a good looking house husband who has been nicknamed as prom king by others' mothers. Formerly, Todd was an athlete and law school graduate. He blindly follows the plans of her wife keeping his kid at the house as his wife films documentaries. The roles will later change when Todd passes bar exams as an attorney where her wife will now be left at home. However, he has not passed the exams for two consecutive times thereby lacking the necessary drive to sit for the exam again. This is a depiction of how painful it is to live an ordinary and average life especially for individuals who desire to live an exemplary life that is full of achievements and rewards for hard work. People who have visions and have set goals such as those of Todds to become a successful lawyer yet are reduced to becoming a man who stays in the house to watch after kids while the wife is working. This is indeed a sad depiction of life as the individual lives a sad life compared to the one that he dreamed of and had begun working hard for.

Just like Sarah, Kathy and Todd have been reduced to the family lives following the laid plans to the letter and yet clinging onto their visions in pursuit of their ambitions. Their ambition burns deep within as their lives are driven by the desire to achieve more and not to settle for an average life. Every night as Todd goes to study in the library; he briefly stops to glimpse at some boys skate defying gravitational laws. A former athlete at school, his life lacked all the recklessness and was keenly planned by his unforgiving wife. He therefore secretly blames his wife for his mediocre life as he wanted to make more use of his life. Surprisingly he has developed an affair with his neighbor Larry Moon whom they play football with occasionally. It is a discreet affair that threatens to shatter their home and dreams.

The setting of the story is in Belington, Massachusetts, a quiet town. The school playground is the place where the story begins and ends.

Bar exam which Todd is supposed to take represents the various things people should do. This bar symbolizes different things for the particular individuals. It symbolizes failures to Todd who deep within knows he can achieve more and accomplish his dreams and goals, but to her wife, it is a symbol of hope and a stepping stone for change as she now hopes that his husband whom he had reduced to settling for average can now achieve more in life.

Todd and Larry are involved in football where they are valued, counted on and trusted showing that men are of value in the society. Individuals, therefore, desire to be valued and appreciated in the society as they give back to their community and to be held in high regards and esteem. Anti-Ronnie flyers made and moved from place to place by Larry represents the negative attitudes the town has to newcomers. People have dreams which if left unmet can leave them shattered and results in feelings of dissatisfaction. They feel that life has cheated them and led them to a hopeless end.

The main Little Children themes in this story are unmet expectations in life.


Perrota, Tom. Little Children. United States, St. Martin's press, 2004

Vickers, Brian. Shakespeare: The critical heritage. London, Routledge, 1995.

Cite this page

Comparative Essay Sample: Little Children and Hamlet. (2021, Jun 24). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism