5
  • In the Shakespeare play Julius Caesar, the minor character of "Cinna the poet" is brutally killed by an angry mob who mistake him for Cinna the conspirator. When he protests, "I am Cinna the poet", they respond, "Tear him [to pieces] for his bad verses" - his works of art. (Disclaimer: I don't know how faithful this is to any surviving stories of the real Cinna.)

  • In the second novel of the Hunger Games series, the supporting character Cinna is brutally killed by a group of thugs. His death has been ordered because the dress he made for Katniss - a work of art with hidden symbolism - is deemed to be a sign that he's part of a conspiracy.

I'd always thought that "many of the characters have names used in Shakespeare's play[s]" was a bit of a silly observation, since the obvious naming connection between many of the characters from District 2 and the Capitol is that they have Roman-sounding names, not specifically Shakespearian ones. But after noticing this maybe-too-much-for-coincidence Cinna connection, I began to wonder.

How many of the Roman-named Hunger Games characters have similar character arcs to their namesakes, either Shakespearian or real-life ancient Roman? ("Character arcs" could cover their deaths, their roles in the story, or anything else about them.) Is there enough evidence to say that the name choices were more than just a way of giving a general ancient-Rome vibe to Panem, or have I just stumbled upon a coincidence?

  • 1
    Although Suzanne Collins is surely familiar with Shakespeare, she and Shakespeare were drawing from the same source. Shakespeare didn't invent Cinna; he took the character from Plutarch's Life of Caesar. – Joshua Engel Aug 28 '17 at 20:03
  • @JoshuaEngel I know that many of the characters in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar were real historical figures, but that play might still be the place where a lot of people nowadays know them from. Is Cinna's death as described in Plutarch (another name that appears in HG, btw) similar to the way Shakespeare portrayed it? – Rand al'Thor Aug 28 '17 at 22:58
  • 1
    I wonder if I should rephrase the question to ask about comparisons between the HG characters and their real historical namesakes, rather than their Shakespearian namesakes. Thoughts on this, anyone? – Rand al'Thor Aug 28 '17 at 22:59
  • I believe that would be appropriate. Collins was clearly drawing on a lot of classical sources, and it's interesting to take note of the way she's informing readers. I think she's setting up her readership to make a lot of discoveries over the rest of their lives: "Ah, Seneca, I get that now!" I personally find that kind of thing really helps me connect to history. – Joshua Engel Aug 29 '17 at 15:52
  • @JoshuaEngel OK, done. – Rand al'Thor Aug 29 '17 at 19:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.