Kill Bill vs Hamlet
Hamlet and Kill Bill “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” The Sicilian proverb used as Kill Bill Vol.2’s tagline perfectly points out a tragic flaw shared by Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Quentin Tarentino’s modern hero: Bill (from Kill Bill Vol.
1 and Kill Bill Vol. 2). In Kill Bill Beatrice is a killer belonging to a team of assassins lead by a man by the name of Bill. Beatrice and her master fall in love and one night while she is on a job, she discovers she is pregnant.
She realizes the world of assassins is no place for a mother and makes the decision to leave the team and leave Bill. When Beatrice does not return to him, Bill searches everywhere for her, not willing to accept she may have been killed on the job. He finally finds her only to learn that she is pregnant and about to be married! From this, Bill derives his motivation for revenge. Hamlet obviously has more of a just cause to act on, where Bill, and really all the corrupt characters in his world, act based on selfishness.
Though However much they may differ, their likeness is shown through choices made when taking their time in exacting revenge, when they let their situations drive them to madness, when they refuse to act without confirmation, and when they let their arrogance and need for revenge blind them. While similarities between Hamlet and Bill’s moral standings are little to none, it is the element of revenge that reveals the shared traits that bring these men to their demise.
The realization that his lover had not only left him without a single word, but had only months later been knocked up and engaged to wed, sent Bill into a maddened outrage. He confronted Beatrice outside of the church where she, her soon to be husband, and all of his family were having a wedding rehersal. He tells Beatrice he just wants to see her happy and that he’ll let her go. Once Beatrice is back inside the church Bill sends in his team to kill them all. Bill walks in himself and shoots Beatrice in the head.
Obviously this cruelty is nothing like the madness Hamlet experienced after finding out the truth behind his father’s death. His became more of a depressed mind. He would sulk around day after day saying outlandish things to people who tried to comfort him. It seemed that suicide was not far from his thoughts. Another thing his madness led him to do was to force himself upon the one he thought he loved: Ophelia. This flaw in Bill and Hamlet’s characters affected them in very different ways. However this is not surprising, for they were certainly very different people.
The point is, these two men let these unfortunate happenings make them both forget their minds for a time. However rash these two men might be under the right circumstances, it is more in their nature to procrastinate. It just so happens that even with that direct shot to the head, Beatrice did not die. Bill has one of his assassins sneak into her hospital room, fully prepared to finish the job. However when the assassin informs him of his former lover’s condition, he tells her to abort, saying, “Y’all beat the hell out of that woman, but you didn’t kill her.
And I put a bullet in her head, but her heart just kept on beating. We’ve done a lot of things to this lady. And if she ever wakes up, we’ll do a whole lot more. But one thing we won’t do, is sneak into her room in the night like a filthy rat, and kill her in her sleep. And the reason we won’t do that thing, is because that thing would lower us. ” It is safe to say that even with absolutely no regard for human life, Bill is a man of honor and integrity. Hamlet too decides to spare the life of his victim for the time being.
He finds himself alone in a room with his uncle, the prey not privy to the predator’s presence. However the King had just prayed for forgiveness of his sins, and Hamlet was determined to make him burn in hell. Instead of getting the job done when they had their chance, these men let their ideals and over-confidence lead to their destruction. Bill’s virtues would typically make a good man even more righteous, so naturally this quality has a negative effect towards his outcome. Because of his decision, Beatrice is allowed to wake up from her coma to find out that Bill has taken her baby.
Determined to get her baby back and to get her own revenge, she sets out after Bill. Along the way, one by one, she slays her fellow assassins who have wronged her. All this time Bill has plenty of opportunities to set a trap for her or to simply find her and finish her, but he waits, just as Hamlet waits, wasting his constant access to his uncle, the King. The last bit of procrastination that only prolongs the lives of the victims, increasing the chance of failure with every permitted breath; the last tie between these two tragedies, is the need for confirmation.
Rather than acting when they still had the advantage, Bill and Hamlet both insist on getting answers. When Beatrice finally makes it to Bill’s house, he first allows her quality time with her five year old daughter, leaving her completely vulnerable. When the girl is asleep and Beatrice leaves the room, he injects her with truth serum and questions her on everything that happened and why, all the while having access to a number of different weapons. It is not until they are both seated across from one another, both with sword in hand, that any attempt is made to kill.
This is also a perfect reflection of Bill’s sense of honor. In Hamlet’s similar situation based on finding the truth, Hamlet refuses to make a move on the unsuspecting King until he has judged his reaction based on a play put on that closely resembles the murder of Hamlet’s father. Of course after having seen the play, set up by Hamlet himself, the King sends Hamlet away to his death. In the final moments of both these tragic stories, both Bill and Hamlet meet their end. The outcomes do differ slightly.
Hamlet does end up carrying out revenge on his uncle, sending him to the depths of hell, while Bill’s prey lives on. One thing that makes up for Bill’s lack of success is that after the lethal blow had been cast upon him, he seems to realize that he had a choice between dieing and watching the one he loves die. It seemed like more of a success to him that his love got to live, and he got to spend his last moments with her. However, that is not to be taken as acceptance of death (because right up until he was critically wounded, he wanted Beatrice dead) or admittance of wrongdoing.
These characters definitely have only themselves to blame for their demise. The traits of these men that led them to make bad decisions are known as their tragic flaws. Nonetheless, these so-called flaws aren’t necessarily horrible attributes and definitely don’t make a person bad or flawed. In fact most human beings display all these qualities in some degree. This is why, no matter what generation, nationality, race, sex, or culture; past, present, or future, we will always be able to relate to, and learn a great deal about ourselves from tragedy.