Essay Sample on Fredrick Douglass and Hamlet Comparison Essay

Published: 2023-10-16
Essay Sample on Fredrick Douglass and Hamlet Comparison Essay
Essay type:  Book review
Categories:  Philosophy Physics Hamlet Essays by wordcount
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1005 words
9 min read

There is a million-dollar question that, at one point or another, in everyone's lifetime, has crossed the mind. When people are developing from childhood to youth, to adulthood, and eventually old age, people can comprehend and contemplate the information that is gathered from life experiences. A person understands things, situations, theories, and outcomes in a different manner from another human being. However, one of the most disturbing questions that the greatest minds of this earth have been trying to answer is; how does the universe work? What secrets, mysteries, and wonders have the universe kept from us?

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One of the greatest minds ever to walk this earth also wanted to answer this question. As a theoretical physicist, his conclusion was even more questionable, as it was harder for him to prove his theory. However, his theory, no matter how impossible it was to prove it, made a lot of sense but was not entirely true. Albert Einstein once said, "Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect, as well as the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.” Albert’s reasoning in making such a conclusion is neither true nor false; it is somewhere in between. I intend to use Hamlet and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass to find the balance in Albert’s theory. It is my hope to draw a clear line that divides the deterministic nature of the universe in order to show how much of a person’s fate is determined by internal forces, and how much is determined by external forces.

Time is the continued progress of everything that is in existence. It is considered to be an infinite, divine, and precious aspect of the universe, a powerful resource that can neither be controlled nor can it seize to exist. However, it can be monitored, and to some level, measured. When we consider time, we define it in the past, present, and future. A person may not have complete control of a situation he/ she found himself in the past or even the present, but his/ her choices in the present situation can have a lot of influence in his/ her future. A good example of this fact can be found in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. In the narrative, anyone can easily realize that no one wants to be a slave. Nobody in his/ her right mind would willingly subject him/ herself, or anyone they care about to a life of slavery. It is through the circumstances that were out of his control conspired against Frederick and many other people who found themselves in a life of slavery and inhuman torture. There is a quote found in Chapter X of the narrative through which the narrator tells of how he was made into a brute, the crushing of his natural elasticity, and the murder of the cheerful spark that was in his eyes (Douglass).

Even though Frederick was unable to control his past and his present situation as a slave, he was able to make determining decisions that led him to a future of being a free man. After being bitten whipped for six months during his time with Edward Covey, who was trying to mold him into a slave without a rebellious behavior, Frederick Douglass decided enough was enough. He did not only realize that there are fates worse than death, but he also acted upon his realization. Even though Frederick knew very well that any slave who tried to run away had very little chance of survival, and even a dimmer chance of finding freedom, he still decided to escape and try his chances elsewhere. If Frederick had not tried to escape, he would have remained a slave and suffered for the rest of his life, and maybe he would not have seen the need to write his autobiography.

Among the greatest external forces that cannot be controlled in this universe is death. It is a very well-known fact that everything that lives must die. The plants, the animals, and human beings must all be a victim of death at some point in life. This is a fact that is internalized from the time a child begins to process information. Most people, if not all, are afraid of death, no one living understands it completely, and most people don’t like the idea, it is terrifying. But there are those few who consider it a blessing, to be able to escape this tiresome life gives them joy. When we encounter the death of a loved one or even a friend, it makes us question our purpose in life, the point of all this hustle to stay alive, the essence of the other person. In Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, Hamlet explains to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Act , scene ii (287-298), about his experience from the death of his father. Hamlet comes to the conclusion that human beings are nothing but dust (Shakespeare). This means that people have no control over what happens, when the wind blows, we move towards its direction, which in this case is death. Death is an external force that has our fate written in stone without a way out of the divine path.

It is clear that even though Albert Einstein was right, that the deterministic nature of the universe cannot be controlled, that we are all bound by fate and have a predetermined future, we can do something to make life here on earth an experience we can enjoy and not despise. We all have the power of free will, to make the little choices that can make a lot of difference, to be able to choose between good and bad.

Works Cited

Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Anti-Slavery Office, 1845.

Shakespeare, William. "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark." Play (1603): 287-298.

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