• 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.

    different reasons to be sorry), and who gets the daisies (unrequited love; you know the game with the daisy, "She loves me, she loves me not"). Ophelia regrets there have been no violets (faithfulness and friendship) available since her father died.

  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.

    without receiving the correct religious preparation to be immediately admitted into Heaven. This feeling of horror was also shared by the Elizabethan audience, since "in Shakespeare's day the threat of hell and eternal damnation was much more sharply felt than it is today" (Andrews & Gibson, 2006: 249, 250).

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

    He has no one to turn to and no one to confide in and the soliloquies are the only release for Hamlet's suppressed emotions. The uselessness of the world, parallel to the uselessness Hamlet feels within himself is seen through the image of an 'unweeded garden, / That grows to seed.'

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

    In the third soliloquy (Act 3, Scene 1) Hamlet is portrayed as a depressed young man. All the other soliloquies make a direct point to the story except this one; it also does not make a reference to other characters in the play.

  2. In what way is Hamlet a play that teaches the reader valuable lessons of ...

    Hamlet is not a man of action. He is a highly moral character with a very deep and clear sense of right and wrong. To kill others, to harm others, does not come easily to him. After the ghost's disclosure of how "upon my secure hour thy uncle stole/With juice

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

    After Hamlet decides to ?follow?(1.4.97) the ghost, the spirit reveals that he is the dead kind and he is in purgatory because Claudius murdered him. This means that Hamlet has to avenge his father?s death and so he makes an oath of vengeance, that he will kill Claudius to right his father?s murder.

  2. Criticism on Hamlet

    uttered by Laertes after the King's description of Hamlet;- "He being remiss, Most generous, and free from all contriving, Will not peruse the foils." Yet I acknowledge that Shakspere evidently wishes, as much as possible, to spare the character of Laertes, - to break the extreme turpitude of his consent

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