Essay about The Significance of Suicide in Hamlet

1515 Words Mar 31st, 2013 7 Pages
The Significance of Suicide in Hamlet

The concept of suicide is one that is greatly contemplated and discussed by Hamlet and other characters in William Shakespeare's play. It can be seen through two of Hamlet's soliloquies and his overall demeanor throughout the play. Hamlet has many issues that he must deal with such as the death of his father and the marriage of his uncle and mother. These two incidents led Hamlet to consider the extreme act of suicide to escape the fate that he had been bestowed. Although Hamlet did not commit suicide, in the end the path that he took inevitably led to his suicidal intentions and his eventual downfall. The contemplation of suicide threatens Hamlet and various characters in the play leading to the
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Hamlet was not the only person that struggled with his life and developed a disturbed psyche, the most notable character being Ophelia. Many factors led to Ophelia's death, one of the reasons being Hamlet's so-called fake craziness which drove him to ruin his relationship with Ophelia, but it wasn't the only factor that led to her downfall. Ophelia's father and brother, warned her against Hamlet, and even though she heeded their warning it led to her ultimate demise. Some people speculate that Ophelia was pregnant and in the Elizabethan era that this play takes place; suicide was the preferred method of “abortion” or a solution to premarital sex. Preceding Ophelia's death, she was in a mental state of distress and disturbance; this may have been a reason that led to her death. She may have viewed suicide as the only escape from her cruel, harsh life after Hamlet denied her and after the death of her father; taking into account that her death may have been an accident. She was given a very forced funeral, the priest even stating that, “As we have warrantise: her death was doubtful.”(Act V, Sc.1) Had her death been truly recognized as a suicide she would not have received a burial and her body most likely would have been left in the river to rot. The death of Ophelia was devastating to Hamlet, for when he heard of her death and saw her pale body in the casket, he admitted to Laertes and the clown that he did in fact love Ophelia. This deepened his depression, but

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