The Kite Runner and "Hamlet": Internal and External Conflict

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Words: 1401 |

Pages: 3|

8 min read

Published: Oct 4, 2018

Words: 1401|Pages: 3|8 min read

Published: Oct 4, 2018

The Kite Runner is a book written by Khaled Hosseini in the year 2003. The author of the book is an Afghan-American who tells the story of Amir who is a small boy from the district of Kabul. The novel exposes many themes based on the Afghanistan customs and cultural practices. The book has many themes in it that have all been exposed to the main character and his best friend, Hassan. It also covers the start of refugee movement in the United States and Pakistan. The Taliban regime is also discussed in this book. On the other side, Hamlet is a book written by Shakespeare at the start of the 17th century. The setting is in Denmark where Prince Hamlet is called upon by his father’s ghost to wreak over his uncle, Claudius. He had murdered his brother so that he would get the throne. He also took his dead brother’s widow as his wife. The book is the longest that Shakespeare has ever done and is referred to be one of the most influential works ever done.

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Internal and External Conflict

Internal and external conflicts are seen in the characters in the two books. Most of the problems that befall characters in The Kite Runner and Hamlet are as a result of a conflict that exists between the internal and external factors facing the characters. This kind of conflict has caused a lot of suffering in the characters from both scripts. A difference between the inner self and the forces from the outside world in many cases will result in the unwanted or unexpected outcome. Internal conflict occurs in the mind of an individual. The person experiences psychological struggle, and they have to decide between matters that are both beneficial to the character or may both cause harm to the character. Internal conflict causes a state of inaction in a person as is the case in Prince Hamlet’s story. This state causes a mental struggle in a person to the point that they are not able to come up with upright decisions for the problems in their life. External conflict refers to conflicts that occur between a character and forces from the outside. It can be a person and a group or between a character and the environment around them. Internal and external conflicts have been discussed in depth in the two books.

Both internal and external conflicts change the character or cause of action in a person. They create tension, stakes, and character development in the two novels. They have been used as obstacles to character goals. They have been used to show the things that stop a character from achieving the goals they had at the start of the story. They have also been used to explain why a particular character will act in a certain way. Different internal and external conflicts are likely to cause certain reactions in a person. These conflicts have also been used to give the characters in the two books different traits and characters. The different conflicts in the minds of characters cause them to show different personalities and interests. The forces that surround them will also lead to a difference in what they want. Because of this difference, characters from the two texts are more likely to show different traits and behaviors based on different internal and external conflicts they experience. A comparison of the different cases of internal and external conflicts shown in the two texts is discussed in this paper.

From the two books, a person who takes action gets rewarded while that one who is hesitant at making decisions remains stuck and suffers tragedy. From the two novels, both Amir and Hamlet seem to be peoples who are hesitant in making decisions which causes them a lot of suffering. Hassan who works at Amir’s home and also happens to be his best friend helps him out all the time. Hassan is very brave and sacrifices his happiness to serve Amir, “For you, a thousand times over Amir Agha” (Hosseini, pg.1). Amir is a person who is very hesitant at taking actions; at one time he watches Hassan get raped and does nothing about. “In the end, I ran. I ran because I am a coward. I was afraid of Assef and what he would do to me” (Hosseini, pg.68). At this stage, Amir experiences internal conflicts within himself. He was thinking of helping his best friend, but at the same time, he was afraid of what the bully Assef would do to him. Because of this conflict within himself, he is hesitant at helping his best friend and Hassan ends up being raped.

Similarly, Hamlet is another character in the book which does not act in time when something comes up. He is aware of the flaws in the society but is reluctant when it comes to how and when he should act towards them. After getting the message to kill his uncle, he experiences some conflict within himself which leads him to delay in acting. He later accidentally kills the wrong person and finds himself saying, “How to stand I then, that have a father killed, a mother stained, excitement of my reason and my blood, and let all asleep, while to my shame I see all the imminent death of twenty thousand men” (Shakespeare, pg.231). The state of inaction experienced by Amir and Hamlet is as a result of internal and external conflicts.

Internal and external conflicts within the characters in the two books are the aspect that differentiates them also. In the case of Amir, his actions have also been influenced by his father, Baba. His father is a man who did not respect his values, and he wanted his son to be like him. “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand for anything.”(Hosseini, Pg.22). His father acts as external conflict. Amir is willing to stand on his own and make decisions as a man. On the other side, his dad is a self-centered man who wants his son to be like him. He feels that what he does and his beliefs are the best for his son. Due to this external conflict brought up by his differences with his father, he ends up being a person who takes a lot of time to act. This conflict negatively affects him. Baba even doubts if Amir was his real son at some point because of the differences that existed between them.

On the contrary, the relationship between Hamlet and his father King Hamlet was very strong. It is the reason why his father’s spirit haunts him to take revenge after his father was dead. “I am thy father’s spirit; doomed for a certain term to walk the night. Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder”(Shakespeare, Pg.65). Hamlet and father had a love for each other. However after the ghost instructed him to take revenge on his father’s death, he doubted its existence for some time. The external conflict that occurs between Hamlet and the ghost makes him hesitant in the process of taking revenge for his father’s death. Internal and external conflicts do not have the same effect on characters in the two novels. In some cases, these conflicts make people act fast towards something while in others they bring reluctance in the process of taking action when things come up. Internal conflict makes Amir a coward and is not able to save his friend Hassan. On the other side, an external conflict between him and his father help him to work hard and become a better person.

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Internal and external conflicts may be used to bring good or bad to a person. These conflicts have been used extensively in the two novels to define the main characters. They have also been used to explain why certain actions were taken by a character in the book. They have developed characters and explained their causes of action. Internal and external conflicts have also been used to pass certain messages to the reader. Themes and various aspects of the society have also been exposed in this way. From the cases of the two novels, readers should realize the power that internal and external conflicts have on their lives. By knowing the power they have, they will be in a position to control the conflicts they come across. This way, their actions will not be negatively affected by internal and external conflicts.

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The Kite Runner and “Hamlet”: Internal and External Conflict. (2018, October 02). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 22, 2024, from
“The Kite Runner and “Hamlet”: Internal and External Conflict.” GradesFixer, 02 Oct. 2018,
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The Kite Runner and “Hamlet”: Internal and External Conflict [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Oct 02 [cited 2024 May 22]. Available from:
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