Essay Hamlet Literary Analysis - Stages of Grief

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Elizabeth Kubler-Ross developed a theory based on what she perceived to be the stages of acceptance of death. Her theory has been taken further by psychologists and therapists to explain the stages of grief in general. Kubler-Ross identified five stages: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, as happening in that order. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet exhibits all five stages of grief, we can assume in relation to the recent death of his father, but not necessarily in this order, and in fact the five seem to overlap in many parts of the play. Instead of denial and isolation, which is the first stage according to Kubler-Ross, Hamlet dwells in a state of depression. The University of Arkansas for …show more content…
At the first arrival of Hamlet’s good friends he welcomes them to Denmark with warmth and “the urgency and openness of his plea for the continuation of their friendship” (Bloom 133). “I will not sort you with the rest of my servants,”(Shakespeare II.ii.270) As soon as Hamlet discovers that his dear friends are “unequivocal sponges of the King, he can release his anger against them without any ambivalence”(Bloom 133). After this discovery is when Hamlet fully realizes the extent to which, except for Horatio, he is now utterly alone in Denmark with his grief and his task. “I have of late,” (II.ii.299) he tells his friends revealing his deep sadness for their abandonment of him. Although seldom and difficult to find him doing, Hamlet does undergo a phase of bargaining. In Death and Dying Kubler-Ross’s theory explains that in a state of bargaining “the bereaved bargains with god to fulfill his desires. He will make sacrifices to get what he wants” (Kubler- Ross 93). We don’t see Hamlet bargaining with god as clearly as we see him bargaining with himself. Hamlet questions the validity of the ghost. Hamlet doubts the ghost’s legitimacy for if the ghost is really a demon Hamlet will not have to follow through on the avengement. Hamlet undergoes an internal struggle to decide whether to act upon avenging his father’s death, if it is in fact his father. Hamlet also bargains with

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