The Significial Elements Of Death In Hamlet By William Shakespeare

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French actress Jeanne Moreau once stated: “Death is an absolute mystery. We are all vulnerable to it, it’s what makes life interesting and suspenseful” (1). The mysterious element of death is found throughout many of the noted tragedies of William Shakespeare. Hamlet, one of Shakespeare’s most famous dramas, is permeated with “murder, suicide, revenge, and accidental deaths” (Jamieson, “Death in ‘Hamlet’”). An analysis of Hamlet brings about a key question regarding one of its central themes: what are the various mysterious concepts that are associated with death?
During the opening scenes of the Hamlet, one discovers that death and murder play integral roles in the development of the drama. Also, Act I introduces the supernatural and spiritual
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The effects of the regicide have left the nation in a sense of darkness and confusion, primarily concerning the chain of command. Summoning Hamlet to follow, the ghost exits the scene. Later, in Act I, Scene v, the ghost of his father begs Hamlet to “revenge his foul and most unnatural murder” (Hamlet I.v.25). Hamlet “finds himself constrained to be the instrument of the father’s vengeance” (Roudinesco 605). In Act III, Scene iii, the reader is confronted with Claudius’s offering a prayer for forgiveness of his action – murdering his brother in search of obtaining the crown. In the same scene, one finds Hamlet contemplating regicide in order to avenge his father’s homicide. Hamlet states that he will postpone the murder of Claudius because, if killed now, Claudius will enter the kingdom of Heaven. Hamlet believes, however, that Claudius deserves to spend his eternity in Hell. He states, “Up, sword, and know thou a more horrid hent” (Hamlet III.iv.88), signifying Hamlet’s lack of action in carrying out the revenge for which his father’s ghost begs. His lack of action arouses internal conflict because Claudius plays an integral role in the murder of Hamlet in the latter scenes. As the plot continues to unfold, the reader discovers that his lack of action is Hamlet’s tragic flaw. The tragedies of the drama, however, do not cease with the regicide and the …show more content…
“The speech is not strictly an . . . exploration of suicide; it may be seen as a contrasting of life and death and a meditative reflecting upon suicide as a way to death” (Petronella 78). Hamlet comments that his “rub” is “For in that sleep of death what dreams may come” (Hamlet III.i.67). He essentially fears what “dreams” will occur with his death. Hamlet questions if death brings about a dreaming slumber, or if his soul will be damned to Hell forever. One learns that he who commits suicide is not granted a Christian burial because suicide is considered to be a sin. “But . . . the dread of something after death” makes Hamlet once again decide against taking action (Hamlet III.i.79). According to Vincent Petronella, “Hamlet’s lack of action has led to varied interpretations of the hero’s mindset” (84). Likewise, the reader is left wondering what brings about the transformation from seeking revenge on Claudius to the contemplation of suicide. “Hamlet is aware of the unreliability of otherworldly apparitions, and consequently he is reluctant to heed the ghost’s injunction to perform an action which is objectively evil” (Magill 358). “Hamlet’s indecision is therefore not an indication of weakness but the result of his complex understanding of the moral dilemma with which he is faced” (Foster

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