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Shakespearean Influences in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

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Tina Stetskovitch

on 26 April 2013

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Transcript of Shakespearean Influences in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

'ROMEO AND JULIET' THE FACTS In Brave New World, the character John is heavily influenced by the world of Shakespeare, which includes the innocent romance that is supposed to accompany any intimate relationship. "On the white wonder of dear Juliet's hand, may seize / And steal immortal blessing from her lips, / Who, even in pure and vestal modesty, / Still blush, as thinking their own kisses sin." (9.1.31)

This quote shows the innocence of romance present in Romeo and Juliet which goes in direct contrast to the dystopic society of Brave New World where promiscuity is encouraged. "Did he dare? Dare to profane with his unworthiest hand that… No, he didn't." (9.1.132)

This quote refers to the time Romeo wondered whether he should kiss the hands of Juliet which again reflects the innocence of love and courtship present in Romeo and Juliet.

John wonders the same thing about Lenina, which is ironic considering how promiscuous she is. "Upstairs in his room the Savage was reading Romeo and Juliet." (12.37)

Instead of attending Bernhard’s party with the Arch Community Songster, John stays in his room and reads Romeo and Juliet.
The image of Romeo and Juliet is contrasted when Lenina goes home to sleep with the Songster. "Oh! she doth teach the torches to burn bright. / It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night, / Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear; / Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear…" (12.41)

Romeo says this when he first sees Juliet and does not know she is a Capulet, and John is reading this part of the play as Lenina is going to bed with the Songster.

While Romeo doesn’t know that Juliet is a Capulet and therefore unable to be with her John is unaware that Lenina’s lifestyle would prevent them from being together. 'THE TEMPEST' 'HAMLET' Brave New World is filled with multiple references from Shakespeare. Thematically, one of the most important references is the one to The Tempest. Along with that reference, many similarities can be found between the two works.









The Tempest's story revolves around the exiled Duke Prospero of Milan, Italy and his daughter Miranda, both of whom have been stranded on a mostly uninhabited island for twelve years.

During the story, Prospero casts a
tempest on a ship that was carrying
his brother Antonio and the King of
Naples, Alonso, to get revenge on his
brother who betrayed him so many
years before.

Other notable characters include
Caliban the Savage and Miranda,
Prospero's daughter. Prospero is a very manipulative character who
often uses his knowledge of magic to his advantage.

His use of magic to get around certain situations and
to avoid conflict and manipulate the feelings of others
can be comparable to the usage of soma in Brave New World.

Do you believe that Aldous Huxley intended for soma
to be seen as a necessary tool of control, or as an
example of the many forms of corruption that
exist in our world today? O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world
That has such people in't!
- Miranda, The Tempest Act 5, scene 1, 181–184 Miranda says this when the ship arrives with people she
has never seen before. She becomes excited at this prospect
of sailing away to a 'brave new world', since she has
never had any contact with mankind. For John, was it truly a 'Brave New World"? “For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a god kissing carrion--” - Hamlet is exploiting Polonius’ hypocrisy in warning Hamlet not to make Ophelia pregnant. When does John quote this? John quotes Hamlet when he watches his mother die in the hospital - At the time that she passed away, she was under the influence of large quantity of soma. - John thought of her as a rotting away animal before she had even passed away. Connection:
In the play, Hamlet ambiguously plots to murder his stepfather, Claudius who is sleeping with his mother, John hates and wants to kill Pope, the man who is sleeping with his mother. - Scholars criticize Hamlets behavior to an Oedipus complex - a child’s desire to ‘sexually posses’ the parent of opposite sex. “Straight from the horse’s mouth--” - Used symbolically through the novel are cows, lambs, rams, and maggots. - The World State strives to elevate mankind, although the people are so primitive. Similarities between Linda and Lenina: - Their names are very phonetically similar. - Linda is a Beta, Lenina's caste is presumably beta as well. - Both women are happy to fill their role as sexual objects and are material obsessed - Both traveled to the Savage Reservation with Alpha men. Oedipus The King killed his father, and then had sex with his mother before gouging his own eyes out John’s experiences reflect the story of this king... - He tries to kill Pope who is the closest person that he has to a father. - His mother is dead (and he cannot sleep with her anymore), he (more than likely) sleeps with Lenina who is metaphorically, Linda. - When John wakes up in the morning he remembered. “’Oh my God, my God!’ He covered his eyes with his hands.”
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