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Hunger Games VS Hamlet

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Have you ever seen an idea as an appearance but it turns into a reality? The play Hamlet and the movie The Hunger Games are very similar to each other based on Characters and plot in the book/movie. In Hamlet, the appearance of the characters is so vain. Everyone is so full deception that the appearance is made to look different than the reality. In The Hunger Games, the plot is very different from Hamlet however the theme of appearance Vs. Reality is seen in both within the movie. Hamlet is a play of Tragedy, At the beginning of the play Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius killed Hamlet’s father with poison. He does this because he wants to be king, and he wants Gertrude. Soon after Hamlet finds out his Uncle Claudius was the one who killed his father so Hamlet then decides to seek vengeance for his father’s death and wants to kill his uncle to get revenge. However, Hamlet waits to do this. In the meantime, Throughout the play, there are many twists and turns, and tragedies...

In the movie, The Hunger Games is about the games being held every year in which 2 tributes, a boy and a girl between 12-18 from each district of Panem are chosen to send to an arena to fight to the death because of the punishment of the previous rebellion. In this movie, there are plot twists as well as tragedies. The theme of Appearance VS. Reality is seen in both Hamlet and The Hunger Games within the three main characters. The three main characters from Hamlet are Hamlet, Claudius, and Ophelia. Three main characters from The Hunger Games are Katniss, President Snow, and Peeta.

After learning about the death of his beloved father, Hamlet is set with a deep sadness that makes him appear insane. He uses this to his advantage and sets up a plan to make all the other characters in the play believe that he in actuality is mad. Hamlet plays it off as if he has become this way with the rejection of his lover Ophelia. This is an easy option for Hamlet and he begins to act cruel, ignorant, and unloving to his lover. The role Hamlet plays in his act is almost flawless, By pulling off the appearance of madness due to rejected love. Hamlet’s insane act helps him with his ultimate goal of helping his dead father.

In reality, Hamlet is only acting this way because he was overtaken by the grief of his dead father and remarried mother. He is a very smart man who fools all the other characters that he is insane when in actuality he is not. Ophelia is deeply affected by the way Hamlet had been treating her but when he tells her he loves her not and acts cruel and ignorant towards her. The cruelty is an act. Hamlet expresses these feelings of love for Ophelia after she had committed suicide. When looking at her beautiful face he said, “I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers Could not with all their quantity of love make up my sum. (Act 5, Scene 1). This also reflects the appearance of Katniss in The Hunger Games.

In the Hunger Games Katniss’ appearance is her appearance presenting on having more masculine traits (Hunting, fishing, Not romantic, and refuses her love for Peeta). Katniss can hide her “reality” from the capitol because, How you present yourself to others is how they will view you. You can make yourself seem stronger than you are, weaker than you are, smarter than you are, etc to benefit you. In reality, Katniss is still presenting her masculine traits but conceals her reality so President Snow won’t kill her.

This is similar to the reality of Hamlet because they both hide their love for their soulmates Peeta and Ophelia. This showed great aspects of the theme of Appearance Vs. Reality because the appearance they both were forced to have made the feelings they had for their significant other hides. Katniss had to pretend she loved Gale in the movie but she loved Peeta. However, Hamlet had to confide in his feelings of Anger and grief due to the death of his father. This theme also reflects the two main antagonists from each type of literature.

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King Claudius’s appearance is very different from his actual self. To his subjects, he seems to be a very proud rightful king. However, He is just pretending to be innocent and he gives them the impression of such at the beginning of the play. He convinces the whole kingdom of his sorrows for King Hamlet’s death, yet he does it only to fulfill his ambitions. Claudius is a smart man that pulls off one of the greatest fake appearances of the play. In reality, Claudius is an evil man. He has killed his brother with poison, he has married his brother’s widowed wife, and he is trying to kill his nephew Hamlet. All Claudius wanted was the power, crown, and Gertrude. However, he fears Hamlet’s awareness of his deeds and investigates in Hamlet’s madness as a precaution for himself. Claudius says, “Whose whisper o’er the world’s diameter, as levels as the cannon to his blank transports his poisoned shot, may miss our name And hit the woundless air. Oh, come away! My soul is full of discord and dismay,”( Act 4 scene.) This quote shows the audience that Claudius is worried about solely Hamlet’s mental position, but in reality, he is fearful of him discovering the bitter truth.

However, in The Hunger Games President Snow was very nice to Katniss and told her what she had to do to win but in reality, he just wanted a show to be put on. He doesn’t care about anyone as long as he has the power and he will find anyway to kill Katniss and Peeta. When Haymitch Abernathy was talking to another representative of the game he said “Katniss, I don't think President Snow will kill Peeta. If he does, he won't have any way to hurt you.' 'So, what do you think they'll do to him?' I ask. 'Whatever it takes to break you.” This quote is implying that President Snow will go to any extreme to hurt Katniss because he wants to be seen as the “powerful” leader that he isn’t.

President Snow and Claudius are alike in so many ways because they will kill anyone that comes in their way of power and money. Just like in Hamlet, Claudius killed his brother willingly because he wanted the life King Hamlet had. In The Hunger Games, President Snow made the quarter quell more difficult and hard because he wanted anyway to torture and kill katniss because in the first games she was known as “The Girl on Fire”. This showed that many kids wanted to follow her example and President Snow was not having it. This theme of appearance versus reality can also be seen through Peeta and Ophelia.

In Hamlet Ophelia’s reality is seen as honest and truthful towards her lover Hamlet. She is a fair lady that is very trustworthy to the kingdom and her father Polonius. However with Hamlet, she appears to appear uncaring to his love letters and poems by giving them back Hamlet, but they are refused and she keeps them. Ophelia is made to look sweet and innocent. In reality, Ophelia is very manipulated by her father and does what he tells her to do. She isn't her person throughout the lay and is easily influenced by others. Even though she is supposed to make it look as she does not have feelings towards Hamlet, she is devoted to him and loves him deeply. One night her father was talking to her and said, Polonius tells Ophelia to walk in the courtyard as if reading a book. He muses that people often use appearances to 'sugar o'er the devil' (Act 3). This shows the way people manipulate Ophelia to get the result they want to get.

Peeta’s appearance is presented to having more feminine characteristics such as undertaking less physically demanding jobs such as gathering food, Artistic skills - decorating cakes and camouflage, More verbally expressive, and is Open to showing emotions. In reality, he is manipulated in a way to keep is physical appearance hidden and only show his less physical characteristics. In a way, Ophelia and Peeta are manipulated by loved one’s to only showcase what the audience wants to see and keep “The real them” in a sense.

Throughout both examples of literature the theme of Appearance Vs. Reality is seen within both showcasing similarities and differences. In one case Ophelia and Peeta were manipulated and portraying someone they aren't by different people in different situations. Also, Claudius and President Snow showed evilness because they will kill anyone at any cost so they can have all the power. However, Claudius killed his brother and President Snow killed innocent people. The theme of Appearance vs. Reality is showcased to deceive the audience is perceiving something that isn’t true.

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Hunger Games VS Hamlet. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 3, 2023, from
“Hunger Games VS Hamlet.” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022,
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