• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Hamlet. In this play, suicide is an act forbidden by religion and society that one may take into consideration only after stricken with unbearable grief. In Hamlets case, he is stuck between living a horrible life that may not seem worth living,

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

March 28, 2011 Period 1 "To be, or not to be" cries a torn Hamlet in Shakespeare's tragedy, Hamlet. This is not the first time that Hamlet reflects upon his existence and thinks about committing suicide. In this play, suicide is an act forbidden by religion and society that one may take into consideration only after stricken with unbearable grief. In Hamlet's case, he is stuck between living a horrible life that may not seem worth living, and taking his own life to end the cruelty of it, which he claims he would if God had not made it forbidden. Subsequently, Hamlet fuels his fire to live and not follow the path of suicide by remembering his duty as a person, which for him is to avenge his murdered father before it is too late. Before we can understand Hamlet's popular predicament to be or not to be as a whole, we must make sure that we define the concepts that are key in his situation to place ourselves in Hamlet's depressing shoes. For one, suicide is a broad, varying act that has different meanings to different people in different times. For the people of Hamlet's setting, it was an atrocious, intentional act that only the horrid sinners would commit against the almighty Biblical God. ...read more.

Middle

Considering most people were very religious, we can infer that they followed the rules very closely and criticized those that did not, even if it was they. In one of Hamlet's soliloquies, we learn that one of the few things preventing Hamlet from ending his miserable life is the commandment of God. "Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd His canon 'gainst self-slaughter!" If it were not against the will of God, Hamlet would have considered suicide even more and maybe even committed the treacherous act. Christianity condemns suicide (Act I, scene ii). The people of the play follow Christianity rigorously. Therefore, the people of the play look down upon suicide mainly because of their religious views. The aesthetics of suicide are a major factor in Hamlet's decision to not commit suicide. Suicide, according to Hamlet, is an ugly, cowardly act to escape from the unbearable conditions of a life like his. To Hamlet, suicide will bring peace or even more misery. The risk involves throwing away his life, which he not very fond of, and putting him into the unknowns of life after death. Though it could have been a good place, such as heaven, we can assume that Hamlet was afraid of going to hell. ...read more.

Conclusion

He claims that the "dread of something after death" keeps people from killing themselves and it's the nightmare that one can encounter in their sleep, which is representative of death (Act III, scene i). Ultimately, Hamlet also feels that he cannot quit until his mission is accomplished. If he does not get revenge for his father's murder, Hamlet believes he will end his unaccomplished life with dishonor and shame. Nobody truly knows whether suicide can lead us to a euphoric solitude or a demented hell. However, Hamlet does his best to think out the situation and reason what is best for him and his duty towards his father. As Hamlet develops, he realizes that he must continue living in this life, no matter what comes in his way. He concludes to this because he knows there is no life that is not problematic or unfair and that departing into the afterlife at such a time may lead him into the unknown, and there is nobody that is not fearful of the unknown. The stereotypical view of suicide in Hamlet is molded by the morals, religion, and aesthetics of the people, and is questioned by a miserable Hamlet in his soliloquies, though resolved by not taking his own life and fulfilling his duty as the son of a murdered King and the son of society and its views. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Hamlet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Hamlet essays

  1. Scene by Scene - Hamlet.

    as when a crazy person walks in front of a bus nowadays. I think Claudius gives it out as a suicide just to inflame Laertes. We don't know who saw Ophelia drown, or why nobody tried to save her. Perhaps an observer from the castle battlements, or perhaps her last

  2. A consideration of the extent to which, in Hamlet's soliloquies, Hamlet is presented by ...

    Hamlet's first soliloquy occurs later in this scene. Hamlet has been asked to remain in Denmark against his wishes by his mother and stepfather and the audience learns of the extent of Hamlet's despair as he contemplates suicide. Although this soliloquy shows anger and rage, it demonstrates no proceedings on Hamlet's part.

  1. Discussing Hamlets desire for vengeance.

    Following with this idea, a special type of doubling known as hendiadys -meaning "one through two"- is present in Hamlet's phrase 'book and volume'. Here, the two words express a single idea yet contribute to dramatic effect, adding to the sense of delay and reflecting, particularly in this case, the

  2. An exploration of the ways in whichShakespeare presents Hamlet's changing thoughts and feelings in ...

    Shakespeare presents this image of an 'unweeded garden' to show the lack of order and control that Hamlet feels all around him. After his father's death, there would have been chaos amongst an 'unweeded garden', now however, the 'unweeded garden' has '[grown] to seed' displaying the incestuous nature of his mother in her marriage to Claudius.

  1. With special reference to the main soliloquies, trace the development of Hamlet's character in ...

    by Hamlet takes the same time for the scene to be set up. Throughout most of this soliloquy, Hamlet constantly discusses the advantages and disadvantages of one's existence and whether it is right to commit suicide. Hamlet's primary focus in this soliloquy is about life and death as he firstly

  2. Discuss Hamlet's attitude to death and the afterlife, giving indications to how both contemporary ...

    because Claudius killed him while he was sleeping and unable to seek redemption. It is not surprising therefore, that Hamlet does not want his stepfather to have the happy ending his father never got. As John Russel Brown says: 1'Within 'Hamlet', Shakespeare has created a hero who is compelled instinctively

  1. Criticism on Hamlet

    find that in the old medical dictionaries the pleurisy is often called the "plethory." Ib. "Queen. Your sister's drown'd, Laertes. Laer. Drown'd! O, where?" That Laertes might be excused in some degree for not cooling, the Act concludes with the affecting death of Ophelia, - who in the beginning lay

  2. An Analysis of Hamlets Philosophy of Life and Death in William Shakespeares Hamlet

    the problems he is dealing with. He sees death as a way to relieve himself from his earthly problems, but realizes he will be damned to hell if he commits suicide, as it is a mortal sin. Thus, Hamlet is discouraged by all the untimely events that seem to come another the other and they seem to overwhelm hi.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work