Death Is Pervasive By William Shakespeare Essay

1322 Words Mar 22nd, 2016 6 Pages
Hamlet Essay In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, the theme of death is pervasive. The specter of death is represented in the opening scene of the play when Hamlet sees the ghost of his dead father, and the play ends with a bloody scene of death and carnage. However, apart from these obvious representations of physical death, as nearly every significant character in the play dies, the theme of death on a more spiritual level is played out most dramatically in Hamlet’s own mind in his famous soliloquy “To be or not To be”. In this soliloquy, Hamlet seriously contemplates suicide and meditates on the more spiritual aspects of death, suicide and the afterlife. But what prompts Hamlet to pose the existential question of “To be or not To be” to the audience? In Act 1, Hamlet is torn apart by grief following the death of his father and the incestuous marriage of his mother to Claudius. While part of him desperately seeks revenge, Hamlet’s anger and despair lead him to contemplate suicide, thinking about how his “sullied flesh would melt, / Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew” (Act 1, scene 2, lines: 133-134). However, Hamlet restrains himself from doing so due to his religious belief that he will endure eternal suffering in the afterlife if he commits suicide. Indeed, Hamlet curses god for making suicide an immoral option: “Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d / His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!” (Act 1 scene 2, lines: 129-132). Hamlet again ponders the…

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