Essay on Religion and Morality in Hamlet

956 Words Nov 18th, 2010 4 Pages
Benny Woo

Religion and Morality in Hamlet

In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the Danish prince sets out to avenge his father’s assassination at the hands of his uncle Claudius, the new king. At first, Hamlet is fragile because of his father’s sudden death and the following marriage of his mother Gertrude and uncle Claudius. Originally contemplating suicide, Hamlet dissuades himself from doing so on the grounds of it being a sin. Shifting from an internal struggle to an external one after he meets his father’s spirit, he seeks to kill Claudius but cannot due to his religion again. Finally Hamlet thwarts Claudius’ plans to be assassinated in England and returns to Denmark. He finds peace in his Christian faith before dying in
…show more content…
Religion not only protects Claudius from his imminent death but also Hamlet from committing murder momentarily. Hamlet is directly saved from sin in his piety. Hamlet resolves his fears of life and death with his faith. After killing Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet returns to Denmark from England to finally avenge his father. Claudius asks Hamlet to have a “friendly” duel with Laertes at his return. Hamlet is well aware that he is in danger and tells his best friend Horatio “Not a whit, we defy augury. There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow… The readiness is all” (5.2.217-20). Hamlet’s language is mystical towards the end. His conclusion that his decision follows “augury” suggests that a divine entity has a plan for what is to come. Hamlet’s fear of the afterlife has also disappeared because he believes “there is special providence in the fall of a sparrow” which is to say even a sparrow’s death is part of God’s plan. Hamlet has accepted the possibility of his death and of others as a mere cog in a larger plot. He has come to terms with everything and follows what he feels to be “auguries” hence staying true to himself. Hamlet grows from yearning from suicide, to killing others, and finally accepts the death of others and himself as natural, if not deserved. Religion had prolonged the life of Hamlet and Claudius. Had neither been in a religious environment or pious the play ends much sooner. In

Related Documents