Hamlet Death Analysis

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Death, and what comes after it, has fascinated human for as long as we have been able to conceptualize it. Fear and curiosity drove a ceaseless search for the ultimate unknown: the afterlife. Tied to this obsession with mortality is the concept of causing death, either someone else’s or your own. William Shakespeare focuses on the ideas and taboo nature that surround death, specifically suicide, in his play Hamlet. Through Hamlet’s soliloquies, the events surrounding Ophelia’s demise, and the truly tragic ending of the play, Shakespeare shows the conflict between the preoccupation with death and the possible relief it could provide and the religious, moral, and other possible drawbacks that concern the act of ending a life. Hamlet’s internal…show more content…
This is reminiscent of Hamlet’s longing him to be able to die without doing anything. Though the Shakespeare never gives the reader a clear view of Ophelia through a soliloquy concerning her thoughts on suicide, he shows the consequences and thoughts of her actions in two scenes after her death: the gravediggers’ conversation and her funeral. The gravediggers, most likely peasants, question whether Ophelia deserves a Christian burial,…show more content…
This is again shown when one of the gravediggers hypothesizes, “If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o’ Christian burial” (5.1.24-26). From these gravediggers’ perspective, or even the more broad lower class view they are meant to represent, suicide is a sin, and makes her undeserving of the honors of a Christian burial. This theme of being unworthy or lesser in the eyes of religion due to suicide continues into the funeral scene, the priest describing Ophelia’s death as “doubtful,” and refusing to give her all the Christian burial rights (5.1.234). Still, at the funeral, it is never directly stated that Ophelia killed herself, just as Gertrude first tells the Claudius and Laertes of Ophelia’s death in euphemisms, sterilizing what had happened (4.7.190-208). Suicide is seen as taboo and not something to speak about openly, especially by the upper

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