Life And Death In Shakespeare's Hamlet

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At first glance, William Shakespeare’s world-renowned play, Hamlet, appears to be a tragic tale about a boy-prince gone mad. As readers continue on after the first act, Hamlet’s unfortunate life becomes increasingly more obvious. Moreover, throughout the course of the play, the young prince Hamlet appears to be not only impulsive but also inappropriately melodramatic in comparison to all the other characters in the play. Even more so, his actions seem to be devoid of any rhyme or reason. Without further consideration, it can be easily concluded that the traumatized boy-prince has suffered so much that he has been driven mad; however, this is not the case. In fact, a more in-depth analysis of the play can serve as a testimony to Hamlet’s mental …show more content…
For example, as Hamlet reflects upon his narrow perspective of the afterlife, he comes to the conclusion that to die means to enter an “undiscovered country” (III.i.24). In this instance, Hamlet develops the opinion that death is like a blind venture into the complete unknown. As a genuinely rational thinker, the ambivalent prince of Denmark is capable of recognizing the sheer measure of uncertainty that accompanies the afterlife. It is within this soliloquy that the audience has the opportunity to witness Hamlet analyze both the benefits and drawbacks of putting an end to his life. In this way, despite the poignancy of his circumstances, he is still able to think with careful consideration. Hamlet looks further on in order to make his decision. Ultimately, he comes to the conclusion that the risk of entering an even more insufferable world is far too high. Moreover, whether the afterlife is better or worse, Hamlet understands that he possesses a considerably greater amount of knowledge about the life he is currently living. Once he dies, Hamlet is no longer armed with his wits; he is in foreign territory. Similarly, Hamlet metaphorically equates death to a place where “no traveler returns” while he proceeds to consider his choice between living and dying (III.i.25). It is evident at this point that Hamlet views death as the ultimate point of no return. The distressed prince clearly maintains an understanding of the permanence of death. For Hamlet, death is the final destination, the end of a journey. Moreover, Shakespeare’s decision to refer to humans as “traveler[s]” suggests the idea that Hamlet feels as if he is still in the midst of traveling; he still has more to experience in life. From this metaphor, William Shakespeare is able to fully stress that there is no going back after death.

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