The Life and Death of Prince Hamlet

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The Life and Death of Prince Hamlet

Plagued by the philosophical aspects of life and death, Prince Hamlet repeatedly failed to act upon avenging his father's wrongful murder. Though he knew what he must do, Hamlet's inaction is caused by his constantly changing persona and theories on the inevitability of death and the afterlife. Hamlet's attitude towards death changes from fearing death and the afterlife to accepting it as inevitable, manipulating his actions and causing him to make distinct decisions, such as not killing Claudius, his father's slayer, while he is at prayer, but rather to wait to take action against Claudius when he is in a state of sin, in order to assure his damnation.

Initially, deeply depressed, Hamlet often contemplates suicide and the opportunity to escape the "whips and scorns of time." His inability to follow through with these contemplations, however, is demonstrated by his philosophical method of thinking and questioning the morality of all his actions.

Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles

And, by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep -

No more - and by a sleep to say we end

The heartache and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to... (III, i, 65-71)

Seeing an opportunity to escape his own depression, Hamlet questions the nobility of an action such as suicide. Hamlet, however, realizes that "for in that sleep of death what dreams may come." The dreams of the sleep of death represent the possibility of a worse situation. The Prince ultimately proclaims that no one would " - bear To grunt and sweat under a weary life," if not prevented by their own fear of what lies after death.

"But that the dread...