Religious Conflicts In Shakespeare's Hamlet

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From start to finish, the play Hamlet contains varying degrees of conflicts and dilemmas. These conflicts range from the external combat between Denmark and Norway, to Hamlet’s inner turmoil over avenging his father 's death by killing Claudius. Although religion plays a supporting role to the play, it still contains conflict between religious views. Throughout Hamlet, Shakespeare offers both Protestant and Catholic concepts, yet the play should be considered primarily Catholic for four reasons. Shakespeare 's personal experiences and family’s and own religious beliefs, were Catholic. There was necessity to disguise Catholic elements due to the political environment of Elizabethan England. Finally, the Protestant elements playing minor roles …show more content…
A main personal experience that affected Shakespeare’s writing was the death of close family members including his son, Hamnet, who died on August 9, 1956. Although Shakespeare had meager interaction within his son’s life span of eleven years, and probably had desensitization to death because of the high mortality rate at the time, Stephen Greenblatt argues that Hamnet’s death influenced Shakespeare 's writing directly after the passing and years latter. While most scholars would assume from the cheery attitudes of the plays written directly after the death of his son that Shakespeare moved on from the death swiftly, Greenblatt finds within King John—written right after Hamnet’s death in 1596—the feeling of loss. The mother within the play who becomes suicidal after the death of her child draws striking similarities to the writer 's personal feelings. Yet Hamlet is where the feelings over the death of his son shines brightest. Greenblatt believes that after Shakespeare perfected the art of representing inner emotion—also spurred by the death of his son—Shakespeare tackled his true feelings about his son’s burial within Hamlet. His fear that Hamnet received an inadequate funeral …show more content…
This, however, is easier said than done for the reason that scholars themselves do not know his actual religion. Scholars have drawn conclusions to Shakespeare 's religious ideals tied to protestant religions, catholicism, and even atheism. Although interesting to think about, the idea about him being atheist does not hold up. through his plays, and personal writings, such as his will, leaving again a battle between Catholicism and Protestantism. Some argue that since Shakespeare attended a protestant church that he must have been protestant, however, this excludes historical influence placed on Shakespeare to attend such a church. Others, including David Kastan, argue Shakespeare’s religion is impossible to tell, stating within his book, A Will to Believe, “But the point is, unless one is willing to take its very inaccessibility as affirmative evidence for his belief, the nature of Shakespeare 's faith, even its existence, remains unavailable to us” (Kaston 40). Yet critics such as Phebe Jensen, or Claire Asquith, conclude that the catholic elements within his plays are substantial enough to prove that he was catholic. Jensen argues in her book Religion and Revelry in Shakespeare 's Festive World, that the inclusion of traditional festivities point towards Shakespeare believing in Catholicism. Ultimately, Shakespeare

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