The Importance Of Memento Mori In Hamlet

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Following Polonius’ death Ophelia, daughter of Polonius, is stricken with grief over the death of her father. Shakespeare very clearly intends a reference to memento mori when during Polonius’ funeral Ophelia says, “Look at my flowers. There’s rosemary, that’s for/ remembering. Please remember, love. And there are/ pansies, they’re for thoughts” (Shakespeare 4.5.51-53). Physical symbols of memento mori were very popular during the renaissance, the most popular being a skull or human bones. Nevertheless, this rose is very clearly shown as a memento representing her father and the loss she and her family went though. Although it may seem just a small detail added by Shakespeare for dramatic effect, the meaning goes deeper than one may assume …show more content…
The duel is an act by Claudius to ensure Hamlet’s death by poisoning both Laertes sword tip as well as Hamlet’s drink. Maria Mendes in Hamlet’s Ordeals uncovers Hamlets eventual doom by stating that “The duel begins in silence. Hamlet is no longer an observer, but an actor in Claudius’ revenge plot” (Mendes 283). Mendes also points out “The most important thing about the fight between Hamlet and Laertes is that it is not, in the strict sense, a duel. It is intended to be a fatal accident” (Mendes 286). Unfortunately Claudius could never have expected Hamlet’s mother drinking the poisoned cup rather than her son. With his queen on the verge of dying, Claudius begins to panic, and Laertes is prompted to quickly slice Hamlet with the poisoned blade. In his rage, seeing his mother and realizing his eventual fate, goes on a rampage attacking Laertes with the poisoned blade as well as Claudius. In addition, Hamlet pours the remainder of the poisoned wine down Claudius’ throat. Again, one might argue that through this Hamlet shows his true colors of being fully capable of murder. Andrew Foley on the other hand in Heaven or Havoc? The End of Hamlet states

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