"To Thine Own Self Be True": Existentialism in Hamlet and The Blind Owl

Masoud Farahmandfar, Gholamreza Samigorganroodi


This article aims at exploring the key concepts of Existential thought in two masterpieces of the world literature, namely, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Sadeq Hedayat’s The Blind Owl (Buf-e Kur). Freedom, free will, authenticity, self-realization, self-becoming, and awareness of death are among the main concerns of both writers. Shakespeare depicts authenticity in the character of Hamlet, and it is in contrast to him that the reader finds many instances of inauthenticity. The Danish prince has no tolerance whatsoever for inauthentic or self-deceiving. The same thing is visible in The Blind Owl in which the narrator-protagonist feels himself above all the low, petty desires of mankind. All in all, both characters’ main challenge is to live authentically.

Keywords: Existential philosophy, authenticity, angst, death, being, existence, self-realization

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