Comparing Harry Potter to Hamlet


Harry Potter is generally a sequence of seven fantasy narratives which were written by J.K. Rowling who was a British author. It will be documented that the central story arc is based on Harry Porter’s pursuit to conquer Lord Voldemort who was a dark wizard whose aims revolved around overcoming the world of wizards, vanquishing people who were non-magical, destroying all people particularly Harry Porter and was also aimed at turning out to be immortal. It will be further realized that since the release of Harry potter, it has actually achieved massive popularity, commercial success and critical approval allover the world (Gupta, 2003).  On the other hand Hamlet is a tragedy play that was written by William Shakespeare. The play basically dramatizes the vengeance that Prince Hamlet instills on Claudius who was his uncle for the reason that he murdered King Hamlet. It is true to say that this play actually portrays both simulated and true madness that extends from devastating grief to incensed rage.

It will be acknowledged that Hamlet purely represented humanism, logic and rationalism which are actually the considerable attributes of the English Renaissance, personality of ages and parts of the modern mind. This makes Harry Potter to be compared to Shakespeare’s Hamlet (Heilman, 2003).  It is recognized that the augmented utilization of logic and thought significantly contributed to the English rebirth of reasoning, literature, science and theater. Both Shakespeare and Rowling have both used thought and logic in establishing the title character in there texts. Harry Potter can essentially be thought to rely on the Shakespeare’s work because Hamlet is assumed to be a largely rational man who purely trusts in the reasoning power to raise humans from just earthly creatures into sanctified realm (Burnett & Manning, 1994). This is truly comparable to Rowling artistry where he uses Harry Potter as the rational man solely aimed at overcoming Voldemort who was a wizard and elevating his fellow humans into a sacred dominion. The two texts are further comparable in the themes that they reveal to the readers. Like the modern drama characters, particularly in Harry Potter, Hamlet is wholly centered at the disillusionment theme. It will be noted that Hamlet embodies the disillusionment theme just like the post modern themes in literature. The two texts focus on the sorrows and pangs of living, failure and purposelessness. They both explore on the themes of revenge, prejudice, treachery and corruption. These are issues that are attached to the human beings both in the early and contemporary world ( 2013).

It will actually be acknowledged that both characters in the two author’s texts are comparable. Shakespeare’s characters are seen to play around in an environment were love prevails leading to close relationships between the characters. On the other hand some characters are geared at carrying out revenge to their fellow characters while others are aiming at harming others through charm. Villains are seen to exist both in Harry Porter and Hamlet. In summary, the characters in both texts exhibit similar traits implying that Shakespeare’s characters actually reveal the traits revolving around contemporary characters in most authors’ works. Throughout the Shakespeare’s’ play the role of Horatio is assumed to be minor. Conversely, Horatio serves two roles that are very important in the drama. Horatio is thought to be the harbinger of truth in the play. The actions acquired by hamlet and various characters in the play only gain credibility through Horatio. Horatio deeply believes in all actions that are done by Hamlet. Since his statements are assumed to be true then when he sees the ghost we can thus believe that Hamlet sees it too (Amanda 2000, August 20).  It is thus generally held that if Horatio missed in the drama then the sanity of Hamlet would be actually in doubt.

The second purpose of Horatio in the drama is that he is the one true confidant of Hamlet. Regardless of the soliloquies of Hamlet, his dialogues with Horatio happen to be the only insight that can be relied on concerning his feelings and thinking. Prince Hamlet therefore selects Horatio to become simply the sole person he can depend on. It will be realized that Horatio is in fact the kind of man Hamlet desires to be. He is truly intelligent but from the play we can realize that he is not coerced by his intellectual creativity. He appears to agree to the world just the way it is dispensed to him. Horatio is also helpful and loyal to Hamlet allover the play and it will be documented that after the death of Hamlet, Horatio remains alive and he is willing to inform the story of Hamlet. It can be said that Ron Weasley in Rowling’s novel is assumed to be Horatio for the reason that he is the confidante and closest friend of Harry Potter. In spite of the difficult times that arise in both texts these friends remain to trust each other. It will be realized that the friends work together in overcoming their enemies.

Laertes in Shakespeare’s play is seen to be Ophelia’s brother and Polonius’ son. In most parts of the drama he appears to be in Paris which may make many readers to think that he is not an important character. Laertes is very important especially in building up the plot of the play. From the play we can say that he is a youth who is hot-headed. His anger can in one way be termed as an exhibit of strength. Laertes is reliable, charismatic and strong. Most of the characters in the play purely depend on him and through his strength he actually appears not to be afraid. He thus appears to be brave through his determination to kill anyone who might have been associated with the death of his father. Based on the play Laertes seems to exist as a man of action. This is because he has been positioned to deride Hamlet.

He is quick in making decisions and he doesn’t appear to be an exceedingly intelligent character. He has no enough proof but instantaneously considers that the king murdered his father. It is true to say that Draco Malfoy is comparable to Laertes simply because he is seen to connive against Harry Potter and his father is in fact close to Lord Voldemort. Polonius who was the father of Laertes is very close to Claudius and from the Shakespeare’s play we come to realize that Laertes in the long run plots to kill Hamlet (Stockton 2000).

Officers in the play extend to include Bernardo and Marcellus. They are the first to observe the ghost strolling on the walls of Elsinore and convene Horatio to see it. The officers are thought to be loyal, responsible and kind. They are also reliable. Through their traits they are able to convince Horatio of the Ghost existence. It can be said that Fred and George in the Harry potter are enormously similar interchangeable characters just like Bernardo and Marcellus.

In summary, most of the Shakespeare’s artistry particularly those that are endorsed in Hamlet are essentially comparable to the contemporary literature. Most of the modern authors cope from his work in their view of addressing issues that are attached within the modern society. Rowling’s Harry Potter is thus comparable with Hamlet in both its themes and the rationality of its characters.










Amanda, M. (2000, August 20). Shakespeare’s Horatio: An analysis of Hamlet’s Friend Horatio. Shakespeare Online. Retrieved July 10, 2013, from

Burnett, M. T., & Manning, J. (1994). New essays on Hamlet. New York: AMS Press.

Gupta, S. (2003). Re-reading Harry Potter. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Heilman, E. E. (2003). Critical perspectives on Harry Potter. New York: Routledge.

Kliman, B. W. (2001). Approaches to teaching Shakespeare’s Hamlet. New York: Modern Language Association of America.

Stockton, C. L. (2000). CliffsNotes, Hamlet. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Pub.