Due to living in unfit worlds, John
and Hamlet are unable cure their poisoned atmospheres. Hamlet’s pursuit differentiates
from John’s as his honorable status allows for his journey to be easier whereas
John’s savage upbringing forces him to face his battles alone. Knowledge
empowers Hamlet to take a dramatic step in accomplishing his goal of revenge
while John’s knowledge is useless in a society of conformity and assimilation.
The men’s overwhelming feelings of frustration leads to Hamlet’s verbal abuse
his mother whereas John physically strikes Lenina during an altercation.
Despite Hamlet being of a royal status and John of a savage, both men use their
roles to their own personal gain when acting upon their ideas and values. Even
though John is not from the World State, he too views his society as broken and
dissolute just as Hamlet believes his country is. Overall, many lives are lost
in the pursuit to achieve the moral goals which unfortunately in the end, are
not accomplished. 

Both men face hardships against
society as Hamlet thinks he is the only person left with morals while John embraces
his moral compass. These men find themselves alone when trying to fix the
corruptness of their worlds. Hamlet sees so much impurity and unfaithfulness
firsthand in his society and feels alone in a world he believes is broken.  He is so disgusted that he even refers to his
society as a prison: “A goodly one, in which there are many confines, wards,
and dungeons, Denmark being one o’ th’ worst.” (II.ii.234-236).  Although
Hamlet sees how impure and immoral the citizens of Denmark are, he finds
himself standing alone regarding this notion. Hamlet feels that the onus is
placed on him to cleanse the sins of his forsaken country and therefore goes on
a heroic moral expedition. On the contrary, John does not find himself
believing that he is the only moral person left in society, but rather that he
is the only moral person this society has ever had.  In a society where no other feeling but
happiness exist, John stays true to his morals and becomes an outcast. He
proves this idea to be true when he has a conversation with the leader of the
World State: “But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real
danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin” (Huxley 215). 
His persistence to spread his morals is what ultimately leads him to
become an individual against a society. His devotion to his moral journey is
very strong that he eventually kills himself in order to free himself from this
corrupt state. The moral journeys of these men are anything but easy as matters
are taken into their own hands when change cannot be accomplished.

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Correspondingly Shakespeare’s play
and Huxley’s novel are based on the idea of social hierarchy. The social
statuses of Hamlet and John are key contributors to how they approach situations
presented before them. Hamlet is influential to his peers as he is of higher
authority in  regards to the social and
royal hierarchy and is therefore treated as a superior. During an encounter
with Horatio, it is evident how Hamlet is treated with respect: “The same, my
lord, and your poor servant ever” (I.vi.163). Despite being good friends,
Horatio uses honorifics and praise when speaking with Hamlet. Hamlet knows that
when he approaches someone, he will get treated in a certain way and uses this treatment
to his advantage. When trying to prove his theory of Claudius killing his
father, Hamlet turns to Horatio for help and Horatio responds with, “Well, my
lord. /If he steal aught the whilst this play is playing, /And ‘scape
detecting, I will pay the theft” (III.ii.81-83).  Hamlet’s status in society benefits him in
this moment because not only does Horatio agree to assist Hamlet in his plan,
but he also promises to do his task to the best of his ability. This upper hand
allows him to have more success throughout his moral quest. Contrastingly,
John’s lack of power and social status act as barriers when he tries to
demonstrate his views on morals and society. When a reporter approaches John in
the lighthouse to discuss his moral practices, the reporter refers to John as
‘Savage’: “‘Good-morning, Mr. Savage’,” (Huxley 222). World State citizens
refer to John as ‘Savage’ in a negative connotation. Because he is from the
Savage Reservation, people associate him with the reputation of the city’s
citizens and do not take him seriously as per other World State citizens. The
lack of respect makes it difficult for John to be treated equally with the rest
of the population. Since people view John as a circus show rather than an
ordinary person, his moral journey is harder to achieve than Hamlet’s. There is
a clear representation of the juxtaposition between the two characters of
different worlds. Both men are on a quest but have different barriers and paths
along the way. Thus, the philosophy that power is associated with social status
strengthens Hamlet’s moral journey while weakening John’s.

In both pieces of literature, Hamlet
and John’s maltreatment towards the women in their lives is a direct result of
the offensive actions from the women. The treatment differentiates as Hamlet
verbally abuses his mother, Gertrude, during an argument whereas John
physically abuses Lenina during a disagreement. The marriage between Gertrude
and Uncle Claudius is an acting force that drives the ill-mannered treatment
towards his mother. When confronting his mother regarding her relationship to
his uncle, Hamlet speaks to his mother in an uncivilized manner: “Leave
wringing of your hands. Peace. Sit you down/ And let me wring your heart. For
so I shall / If it be made of penetrable stuff, / If damnèd custom have not
brassed it so / That it is proof and bulwark against sense” (III.ii.35-40). His
morale is worsened as he believes this type of treatment is what she deserves.
Not only does he want to kill his uncle for the vengeance of his father, but he
also has thoughts of killing his mother due to her promiscuous behaviour. The
marriage initiates Hamlet’s volatile outburst of emotions. Furthermore, because
John chooses to practice his morals, he disagrees with Lenina’s persistence to
have sex. He values his virtues so when she forces herself onto him without his
approval, he is appalled and angry. His anger turns physical as he slaps her on
the shoulder to express his disgust. Lenina runs out of his sight after he
threatens her: “‘Go,’ he shouted, standing over her menacingly, ‘get out of my
sight or I’ll kill you'” (Huxley 177). His morality is put into question as he
treats Lenina with disrespect. John becomes angry with the unprincipled people
of the World State that he takes his frustration out on her. Whatever faith he
has to start a revolution in the world becomes weakened after this argument.
Therefore, Gertrude and Lenina’s actions bring forth the darker sides in both
men as their morale is challenged.

In Denmark and London where people
are naïve to the truth, knowledge is powerful if it is demonstrated
strategically. Hamlet and John’s knowledge, that no one else is aware of,
assists them in escaping from the reality of their corrupt societies. Hamlet is
informed of the true reasoning of his father’s murder through his father’s
ghost. In a conversation with Hamlet, the ghost of Hamlet’s father finally
reveals who killed him: “But know, thou noble youth, /The serpent that did
sting thy father’s life /Now wears his crown” (I.ii.38-40). Now that he has
obtained this knowledge, Hamlet seeks revenge and executes a plan that proves
Claudius is the murderer. This benefit of this news acts as a step closer to
fulfilling his father’s wish. Hamlet morally benefits from exposing this fact
as he is seeking justice for his father’s death. This is the beginning of
Hamlet’s moral journey as he now knows what he must do to fix his broken world.
In contrast to Hamlet’s ability to use his knowledge for the better, John is
unable to use his for the greater good as it foreign to the World State
society. John knows that soma is just an instrument to keep the residents of
the World State blinded from their problems; therefore, he refers to the drug
as poison: “Don’t take that horrible stuff. It’s poison, it’s poison”
(Huxley 191). When making this suggestion, people cannot help but laugh as it
is ludicrous to the citizens. It is as if he is bringing foreign intelligence from
a different world. Unlike Hamlet, the ability to obtain morals will not benefit
him as John lives in a society without them. He knows how to think and use his
morals but does not know how to express them within his blind atmosphere. John
clearly sees that if he wants to fulfill his moral journey, he must somehow
enlighten the people of the World State with the information that he has even
though his input will be disregarded. While both men realize that knowledge is
the key to fixing their broken civilizations, it is only beneficial to Hamlet
whereas John finds himself fighting an unwinnable battle.

Living in a world that is corrupt
and poisoned with conformity, it is difficult for one to stand apart from the
rest and be the cure. In both Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the protagonists embark on moral journeys in their
respective worlds. Although Hamlet is of royal descent, he is similar to John
the savage as both men find themselves living in broken worlds. Even though both
men have many of the same intentions, their approaches of accomplishing their
goals essentially differ. To begin with, knowledge is a vital aspect to both
works of literature as it gives Hamlet leverage in executing his plan and
allows John to realize how corrupt the World State is. When the toxicity of
their environments become too much for the men to handle, they find themselves
confronting the women close to them in aggressive manners, but only John takes
his approach to a physical level. Although the protagonists are ranked on
opposite sides of the hierarchical spectrum, they go about using their places
in society to their advantage. Due to their uncommon perspectives, John on his
new society and Hamlet on his pre-existing one, both men find themselves alone
when trying to express their opinion. John and Hamlet struggle living in the
toxic and dissolute worlds around them, and while both do not want to conform
to these putrid societies, they are both unable to cure their poisoned worlds.
However, Hamlet’s royal status allows him to have a larger impact on his broken
society whereas John has more of a savage upbringing.      


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