The Morality Of Religion In Shakespeare's Hamlet
In the first act of the play, Hamlet’s high level of distraught over the circumstances of his father’s death leads him to contemplate suicide. He wants …show more content…
Hamlet is presented with an opportunity to kill Claudius while he is praying, leaving his body prone to attacks and unable to put forth any resistance. Although at first Hamlet wants to take advantage of this, he eventually talks himself out of doing so. His reasoning for this is not with a religious basis of any sort (Claudius is the one praying and will thus be the one to go to heaven), but rather it is an excuse made on the basis of a religious belief. Hamlet declares that he does not want to risk killing his uncle at this moment as he is praying:
HAMLET. Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge! (3.3.79)
By talking himself out of this, Hamlet is using his fear of possibly sending Claudius to the heaven he is praying to instead of suffering for eternity for his sins as a reason to procrastinate in killing Claudius. Hamlet 's own religious beliefs did not stop him; the sole reason Hamlet even considers the possibility in sending Claudius to heaven is spurred by the religious acts of his uncle. He wants to ensure that Claudius gets what he truly deserves, and once again uses his fear to assure himself he is making the correct decision in hesitating.
Hamlet’s fear of what happens after death is also the reason for why he questions the gravedigger. He yearns to know what happens to a person when they die, and believes that someone close to death, a gravedigger, could provide him with some insight to ease his