The Theme Of Religious Conflict In Hamlet By William Shakespeare

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Elizabethan era England was strife with religious conflict. Both of Queen Elizabeth’s predecessors put the country in religious turmoil. Henry VIII had split England from the Catholic church in order to divorce his first wife in favor of Anne Boleyn. However, Mary I feverently persecuted Protestants in pursuit of restoring Catholicism, earning her the nickname “Bloody Mary”. As a result, Queen Elizabeth was tasked with the responsibility of reconciling the opposing religions during her reign. Much like his other works, William Shakespeare subtly reflects the era’s social issues in Hamlet, a play about the eponymous prince of Denmark who discovers that his father’s untimely death was a murder. Throughout the play, religious anxiety plays a major role in the characters’ personal decisions. In Hamlet, the eponymous protagonist fabricates insanity to avenge his deceased father, however his goals are blocked by his own inner religious turmoil and thereby illustrating the theme of religion. The Danish court is full of deceit and immorality, from King Claudius’ murder of his brother to Queen Gertrude’s incestuous marriage. Amongst the numerous liars in the story, Prince Hamlet serves as the most prominent example of deception. While many characters in the play are deceptive by withholding the truth, Hamlet deceives others by pretending to be insane. After vowing to avenge his father, Hamlet plans to “put an antic disposition on” (1. 5. 192). By obfuscating insanity, he can
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