Time And Memory In Hamlet

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The concept of time and memories is something that has truly baffled people for ages. Time is unwavering, but seems to go faster or slower, depending on the event, as Einstein’s theory of relativity explains. Our brains have a gargantuan amount of space, it seems, for memories to be stored, but so many of them eventually fade. When it comes to time and memories, humans are stumped on how it all truly works. That is why these concepts are so widely puzzled over and so commonly mentioned. This “mentioning” includes Hamlet, in which our melancholy main character muddles over the fact that the passing of his father had happened so much longer ago than he had believed, and the memories that society had retained of him are coming and going at…show more content…
When Hamlet mentions that his father has “[died] two months ago”, and is “not forgotten yet”, this references how people rely so heavily on memories as guidance in their daily lives until these memories have faded away (Shakespeare 3.2.139). Hamlet’s remembrance of his father is still fresh, whereas the other people in Denmark have relatively forgotten about their late king, which explains why Hamlet is behaving so differently from everyone else in the play from the very beginning, when “the clouds still hang on [him]” (Shakespeare 1.2.66). Memories are such a crucial part of the makeup of human lives that they can be a catalyst for quite drastic actions, as seen in the alarming events – and eventual deaths – caused by Hamlet in the play. After the ghost of King Hamlet informed Hamlet of his father’s vicious murder, every one of Hamlet’s actions from that point on was dedicated to his father’s remembrance and revenge, and though the extremity of these insane events are not seen in daily life today, the same pattern is followed due to the experiences that people remember. The word “remembering” itself even proves this, as the Latin root re- represents the feelings and actions that people show “by which they recovered [crucial] experiences--re-present, re-live, re-enact, re-collect, re-trieve, and…show more content…
Mark Kann reminds readers that so many fear death because they feel they didn’t leave a large enough impact on the world to be remembered, and “a man’s demeanor … could make him memorable and, therefore, immortal.” Hamlet has this same thought cross his mind when he mentions how men must “build churches” in order to be immortalized in others’ memories (Shakespeare 3.2.142-143). This thought is scary to the world, because in Hamlet it is surprising that in two months a great king’s legacy has still lasted, but the average person would like to have their legacy last for generations. Hamlet’s words can be very relatable to most people because he poses the realization that the people who last throughout history are the ones who must to great things, and that creates a strong sense of motivation in society to do all things to their full potential. This is the reason why Hamlet wanted to carry out his plans in the most meticulous way possible: because he too wanted to leave an impact that history would remember for generations. If his father would not be remembered for the man he was, then he would at least be remembered for his tragic and sinful murder that received its rightful revenge. Hamlet – and Shakespeare himself – become immortalized for centuries due to the great mark they left on society when the play was
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