The idea of death in Shakespeare's "Hamlet"

Essay by redicecreamHigh School, 12th gradeA+, February 2005

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In the play "Hamlet" the protagonist, Hamlet, is obsessed with the idea of death, and during the course of the play he contemplates death from numerous perspectives. He ponders the physical aspects of death, as seen with Yoricks's skull, his father's ghost, as well as the dead bodies in the cemetery. Hamlet also contemplates the spiritual aspects of the afterlife with his various soliloquies. Emotionally, Hamlet is attached to death with the passing of his father and his estranged lover, Ophelia. Death surrounds Hamlet, and forces him to consider the notion from various points of view. The subject matter, though grave, is dealt with in various ways, from humor and fear to resentment and philosophy. Characters question the nature of death and wonder about its implications to the person who has died, as well as for those who are left behind. By the end of the play, Hamlet and the reader ultimately come to several realizations concerning death, including its uncertainty, its equality, its inevitability, and its legacy.

Conclusions, opinions, and beliefs are all found in Hamlet in respect to death. Prince Hamlet goes through an incredible journey as he attempts to answer questions related to death, including his own role in the deaths of others, such as Ophelia, so-called friends, a spy, and his own family. Confronted with his father's ghost and given such an enormous task of revenge, Hamlet struggles to come to terms with death and dying, with life and living. In Ophelia, it is noticed that living can grow to be too miserable, as disappointment, despair, and loss spiral her into madness and eventually suicide. In Claudius, it is seen how a treacherous life can become so intricate that it consumes itself. And in Hamlet, it is seen how a life full of...