Death in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet Essay
950 Words4 Pages
“So shall you hear of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts, of accidental judgments, casual slaughters, of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause,” (Hamlet, Act V, Scene 2, Lines 381-384). So says Horatio, best friend of Prince Hamlet in the final few lines of the play. He speaks these words after the deaths of Hamlet, Claudius, King of Denmark, Gertrude, Queen of Denmark, and Laertes, son of Polonius. Also dead are Hamlet, King of Denmark, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, former friends of Hamlet, Polonius, councilor to the King, and Ophelia, daughter of Polonius. Death is an extremely prevalent theme in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. However, each death is unique in circumstances, causes, and effects. Three important deaths in Hamlet were…show more content…
Hamlet had not realised that his father had been murdered. The ghost goes on to say, “The serpent that did sting thy father’s life now wears his crown,” (Hamlet, Act I, Scene 5, Lines 38-39). It is at this point that Hamlet realises that his father’s murderer was his uncle, Claudius. Hamlet swears to have revenge. This sets up the circumstances that cause the remainder of the action in the play.
One of the most interesting deaths in Hamlet is the death of Ophelia. Ophelia was the daughter of Polonius, councilor to the king. However, she was also Prince Hamlet’s girlfriend. She died by drowning in a river. It is most likely that she committed suicide, though there was never any evidence to that effect, and it is impossible to say for sure.
The chain of events leading to her death came from two different directions. One cause of her apparent suicide could have been Hamlet’s madness. They had been lovers, but during the time prior to her death he became very cold toward her and bordered on insanity. In one brief soliloquy she says the following:
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That sucked the honey of his musicked vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason
Like sweet bells jangled, out of time and harsh,
That unmatched form and feature of blown youth
Blasted with ecstasy. O, woe is me
T’ have seen what I have seen, see what I see!
Hamlet, Act III, Scene 1, Lines 158-164
She is lamenting the fact
Hamlet's Death Essay
1182 Words5 Pages
In the play, Hamlet, Shakespeare leaves you wondering about death. Through the characters in the play, he reveals his own thoughts about death. Does Shakespeare portray a deep understanding of death in this play? The never-ending cycle of death and revenge is evident throughout the entire play. The play opens up with death already at the door. Hamlet is left with not only a deceased father and no clue as to what ended his life, but must also deal with his uncle taking the throne in his place. His father, in the after-life figure of a ghost, speaks to Hamlet. Informing him of his death and, in turn, setting about the first thoughts of revenge. ”Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder” (I.v.25). As with every character in the play, Old…show more content…
King Claudius uses this to his advantage. Knowing that Hamlet is out to take his life he encourages Laertes to seek vengeance for his father’s death. Hamlet challenges Polonius to a sword fight despite Polonius’s reputation for being a great swordsman. This dual would be the end of the two young men. The deaths of Guildenstern and Rosencrantz was plotted by Hamlet himself. This act of plotted killing just shows how heartless a killer he has become because these two individuals did not have to die and Hamlet had no real reason for getting them killed. In the soliloquy “To be, or not to be: that is the question” spoken by Hamlet, he discusses his views on death (III.i.56). In this scene he is contemplating his thoughts on suicide, death, life, and the afterlife as he awaits his meeting with Claudius. He reflects on whether the afterlife will have the same problems as his current life. He also shares his thoughts on death in another scene where he is a graveyard. Hamlet basically says you die and become food for the worms and then you are nothing in these lines “Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returned into dust; the dust is earth; of earth we make loam” (5.i.209-211). He gives so many details on life and death, yet he is the one causing so many of the deaths that occur within the play. If it were not for him seeking revenge for his father’s death then so many of the events that