Compare Jimmy & Hamlet in Look Back in Anger

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Elizabethan and Modern Dramatist

      The modern dramatists were viewed as young, shocking, “Pop” and theatrical. The Elizabethan theatre in which Shakespeare worked also had a throng of dramatists who were young, shocking, ‘Pop’, and very closely connected with the theatre.

      Marlow, Johnson, Greene, Marston, Dekkar, Heywood, Shakespeare and Beaumont and Fletcher all started their career with the theatre in their twenties.

Sensational and Shocking

      The Elizabethan plays dealt with shocking moral subjects reflecting the tendencies of the age, like cruel public execution.

      The modern dramas also had socio-political problems as their subject matters.

Look Back in Anger and Hamlet

      Critics have compared the two plays finding many points of similarities between Jimmy and Hamlet. According to A. E. Dyson Jimmy is like Hamlet in a domestic and smaller setting.

      Like Hamlet, Jimmy lacks the power to relate his powerful emotional reversion against evil either to a rational appraisal of the universe as a whole or to adequate self-knowledge.

      Mary Maccarthy compares the two plays and says that story of Look Back in Anger has great deal in common with Hamlet. Cliff is Jimmy’s Horatio who is loyal to him without understanding his philosophy of life. Jimmy treats Alison with the same candid brutality that Hamlet treats Ophelia.

Jimmy Versus Hamlet

      Both Hamlet and Jimmy have declared war on the society which they consider rotten. They have failed to accept their normal place in the world. They think too much and criticize too freely.

University Questions

Compare the new British dramatist with the Elizabethan dramatist.
“Both Hamlet and Jimmy have declared war on a rotten society; both have been unfitted by a higher education, from accepting their normal place in the world”. Compare the characters of Hamlet and Jimmy in the light of the above statement.

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