Themes of Hamlet and Autobiography of Red

Drama theatrics, plays, poems, and dialogues are all forms of poetry and art that form an epic background of themes that are societal or other individualized tailored to bring out lessons, entertain, or mock. Some several texts such as Hamlet and Autobiography of Red focus on the emotions based on mourning and love and the teachings that can be derived from them as tools of art and poetry. So is the text of Sophocles’ Antigone and Plato’s Crito that delve into the superpower analytics vis a vis law and justice. This discussion looks into the differences and similarities from the themes of love and death, revenge and violence, sex and gender, grief and mourning as well as law justice and war.

Hamlet is a scene play that features Hamlet, who after his father’s death and the supposed to be the heir of the throne suspects an uncouth play. He is beckoned from school in Germany to their home in Denmark for his daddy’s burial and finds out that his mommy is already wedded to Claudius his uncle who has already capped himself the heir of the throne that his father left behind. His father’s ghost visits Hamlet and confirms to him that Claudius is his alleged killer and that he should seek revenge but spare his mother Gertrude to the supernatural forces.

On the other hand, Autobiography of Red is a literary fiction that has Geryon as the main character that is previously sexually mishandled by his eldest brother, flees to find consolation in photography and love in a boy named Herakles (Carson, 2008). His mother is too febrile to help him out of the abuse and Geryon is desperate for affection and warmth. Herakles deserts his lover for Geryon and a few years later they meet in what seems to be a love triangle with Ancash, the new lover of Herakles.


These two texts have a common theme that takes a centre stage. Love! Love here would be defined as a strong feeling and an emotional attachment towards kin or other members of a family or a romantic relationship that has a sexual attachment to it or even materially. Hamlet brings out the theme of kinship and romantic love. He loves and respects his father so much that he leaves school to go and give him a befitting send-off. Gertrude, his mother is sexually attracted and perhaps loves Claudius and marries him immediately after the death of his husband. Perhaps she never adored Hamlet's dad. It must have been a case of love gone sour previously! Claudius has an absolute love for power and wealth. He illegally takes over as the heir to the throne.

Similarly, Geryon is falling in love with Herackles a boy from the city. Love here beats beyond the gender perspective. It eventually clicks to a love triangle between Geryon, Herackles, and Ancash. Love wins!

Grief is addressed in both texts as characters are either molested and abused and seek solace further in response to their grief-stricken mood. Hamlet drops school for a while to attend to his father’s burial and heal. His mother falls in love and gets married to Claudius. Perhaps, she was doing it in response to grief because well, that was quite fast.


However the theme of love is handled in both texts, it is portrayed from a different gender perspective. William Shakespeare deals with love between people of a different gender. Gertrude fell in love with Hamlet's dad and also Claudius, his uncle. On the other hand, Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red focuses on queer love topics with Geryon, Herackles, and Ancash at the center stage.

Revenge is the burning desire to hit back on someone in response to their harming or abusive nature towards you or someone else. Characters seek revenge to feel good about themselves and to harness healing. In these two texts, revenge is handled differently based on family, emotions and individualism, and superpowers. In William Shakespeare's Hamlet, his father's ghost is unable to calm because he was allegedly murdered by Claudius. He wants revenge and orders his son to carry out the mission (McKeown, 2004). Hamlet is mered with confusion on the need to carry out the murder revenge on Claudius because he suspects that the ghost may not be a genuine supernatural mystic power. He stages several scenes described as The Murder of Gonzaga, to probe the true intentions of the ghost in pursuit of revenge and the vision comes out real. Hamlet decides to kill Claudius. Here revenge turns bitter and sad as depicted in the play.

In contrast, Anne Carson illustrates revenge that is projective and calm. Amidst a lonely and hurting scenario, Geryon decides to curve back to a world of creativity, red illusions romance. He doesn’t seek revenge for his brother who molested him and his mother who was unbothered. He falls in love instead with Herackles. He pursues happiness instead of revenge.


McKeown, A., Comport, S. W., & Shakespeare, W. (2004). Hamlet. New York: Scholastic.

Carson, A. (2008). Autobiography of red: A novel in verse. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.