Bluest Eye

Engaging the Reader's Judgement in The Bluest Eye and Hamlet 12th Grade

Controversial issues such as incest and murder are tough to discuss and even more difficult to resolve. Literature often employs such realities to leave the reader in a state of thought, rarely offering answers or even stances on the issues. In Hamlet, Prince Hamlet murders Polonius and Claudius, while causing the death of Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Ophelia, Laertes, and Gertrude. In The Bluest Eye, Cholly rapes his own daughter, Pecola. In their respective works, Shakespeare and Morrison do not offer answers to these issues. Rather such actions raise questions of morality, compelling the reader to make their own judgments and to truly engage with the text.

In Hamlet, Prince Hamlet kills Polonius and Claudius, raising the question of whether “justifiable murder” can be justified. The initial source of Hamlet’s murderous rampage is the command of his father’s vengeful spirit, which reveals the truth behind the king’s death and Claudius’ betrayal. Prince Hamlet devotes himself to avenging the death of the late King Hamlet, accidentally killing Polonius and eventually killing Claudius. Societal norms dictate that murder is wrong and thus Prince Hamlet’s murders ought to be viewed as immoral and unjust. However, the play presents...

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