In the novel The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini and in the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare the characters suffer tragedy as a result of the world that they have created for themselves. Despite the sufferings, in the end they find redemption. The characters do not act until they are pushed by it, the lack of action causes them to suffer. The conflict between father and son causes Amir and Hamlet to suffer. And Amir and Hamlet betray other characters and they both end up in tragedy.
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The man of action is rewarded while the man of inaction suffers tragedy. Amir and Hamlet are both hesitant in making decisions. Hassan, Amir’s best friend and also his family servant, unconditionally helps Amir throughout the novel. Hassan is a brave Hazara boy who makes sacrifices for Amir. “For you, a thousand times over Amir Agha.” (Pg.1). Like Hamlet, Amir is very moderate in taking action. Amir witnesses Hassan get rapped before his eyes, but he just stands and watches it. “In the end I ran. I ran because I was a coward. I was afraid of Assef and what he would do to me.” (Pg.68). In this case, Amir is frightened to act because he is afraid of Assef, a bully, and what he would do to him. Similarly, Hamlet’s delay of action causes him to suffer. Despite the fact that Hamlet is aware of the flaw throughout the play, he does not act. Hamlet’s uncertainty about whether or not trust the ghost causes him to be very slow in acting, and this leads him to his downfall. Hamlet often does not act and when he does, he acts unwittingly. As a result, Hamlet accidentally kills Polonius which leads him to his downfall. Hamlet himself realizes the complexity of him own action and he says, “How stand I then, that have a father kill’d, a mother stain’d, excitement of my reason and my blood, and let all asleep, while to my shame I see all the imminent death of twenty thousand men.” (Pg.231) Hamlet criticizes his own inaction by comparing himself to Fortinbras. Hamlet is impressed by Fortinbras’s motivation to action that Hamlet himself lacks. Amir and Hamlet suffer from inaction that leads them toward tragedy.
The tension between father and son, agonizes Amir and Hamlet. The relationship between Amir and Baba, Amir’s father, and Hamlet and King Hamlet suffers the characters. At the beginning of the novel, Amir cannot fulfill Baba’s expectations of becoming his favoured son. Baba values sports and respected jobs, such as becoming a politician, more than anything else in his life. Baba is a self-centered man and he does not respect Amir’s values and wants Amir to become like him. “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand to anything.”(Pg.22). As the time progresses Baba finds out that Amir has no qualities like him, and sometimes he even doubts whether Amir is his real son. This creates isolation between Amir and Baba. Furthermore, their isolation builds a tension between them which causes Amir to suffer. In contrast, the relationship between Hamlet and King Hamlet is considerably strong which provokes Hamlet to take revenge of his father’s death. “I am thy father’s spirit; doom’d for a certain term to walk the night. Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.”(Pg.65). The ghost wants Hamlet to seek revenge for his father’s death. Hamlet loves his father, but he is uncertain about the ghost’s existence. This puts Hamlet through dilemma and causes him to suffer. Amir is very obsessed with Baba’s expectations from him. Sometimes he curses himself for being his son. “I wish I could open my veins and drain his cursed blood from my body.”(Pg.27). Baba conceals his secret from Amir, and later on in the story he dies with his untold secret. Rahim Khan, Baba’s old business partner and his best friend, is a wise man who helps Amir with his advices throughout the story. Rahim Khan tells Amir Baba’s untold secret. He tells Amir that Hassan is his half-brother. Amir is angry because he hadn’t known the truth in his whole life and he had been treating Hassan unfairly. “But better to get hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie.”(Pg.58). Baba conceals his secret to protect his reputation, at the same time he is hurting Amir and causes him to act unwisely. Therefore, the inconsistencies between father and son suffer Amir and Hamlet.
The betrayals alter character’s lives, it causes them to suffer throughout the story and in the end it helps them to decide wisely. In The Kite Runner Amir betrays Hassan, his best friend. Later on, he faces the consequences of his betrayal and he chooses to redeem himself. Amir disguises the fact that he had witnessed Hassan being sexually assaulted. He deceives others when he is asked about Hassan’s wellbeing. This makes Amir feel dreadfully guilty, because he is being unfaithful to Hassan and their friendship. According to Baba, telling lies is the worst of all sins. “When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth.”(Pg.16). Amir is influenced by his guilt of betraying Hassan that he can no longer bear Hassan’s presence in his life, he arranges a conspiracy to drive Hassan out of his life. The absence of Hassan in Amir’s life profoundly suffers Amir. He constantly remembers the good time he had with Hassan in childhood. Most importantly, every thought of Hassan reminds Amir of his disloyalty. When Amir is told that Hassan is his half-blood brother, he regrets his unfaithfulness to him. In comparison, Hamlet betrays Ophelia, his lover. Hamlet is so overwhelmed with his father’s death that he completely forgets about his affections toward Ophelia. “You should not have believed me, I loved you not. Get thee to a nunnery.”(Pg.141). Hamlet betrays Ophelia by claiming that he’d never loved her. Also, Hamlet murders Polonius, Ophelia’s father, which drives Ophelia insane. Ophelia commits suicide as a result of Hamlet’s betrayal, this causes Hamlet to suffer. In the novel, Amir instigates to seek forgiveness. Rahim Khan tells Amir that Sohrab, Hassan’s son, is captured by Taliban in Afghanistan, and he wants Amir to save Sohrab. “There is a way to be good again.”(Pg.173) Rahim Khan is aware of all the secrets in Amir’s life and he tells him that has only one chance to redeem himself from his guilt, it is to save Sohrab and fulfill Hassan’s wishes. Despite all the obstacles on his way, Amir chooses to save Sohrab. He achieves redemption when he succeeds to save Sohrab and adopt him as his own child. Amir and Hamlet betrays other characters in the story, and in the end they both find redemption.
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In conclusion, Amir from The Kite Runner and Hamlet from the play Hamlet suffer tragedy as a result of their own actions. Amir and Hamlet are very hesitant in taking actions and when they act, it causes them to suffer. Baba’s characteristics and his expectations from Amir create conflicts between them, which causes Amir to suffer. Similarly, Hamlet’s search for his father’s revenge puts him in a dilemma. Finally, Amir and Hamlet’s betrayal to others causes them to suffer and lead them to their downfall.
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