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Meaning Of Life Essay

1948 words - 8 pages

Finik 1Michael FinikMr. GodboutENG4UA11 July 2014Meaning of lifeWhy does one live? What purpose does one serve? What is the meaning of life? These are all existential questions that both ancient and modern philosophers have yet to satisfactorily answer. The weight of one's mortality and the differences of life and death are introduced right from the start of Shakespeare's play Hamlet having Hamlet, in the aftermath of his father's death, attempt to explore these existential questions, seeking truth and understanding as he tries to grasp the anecdote about his father's death. Claudius on the other hand is deeply considering his actions while also enduring a very difficult apprehension of life after death. Claudius acts to generate Hamlet's confusion and anger, and his ensuing search for truth and life's meaning, but Claudius himself is not a stationary character. In private, he is a very different character. It is clear that Claudius is seen as a murderous villain, but a divided villain: a man who cannot refrain from nourishing his own desires. He is not a monster, only morally weak, intent on trading his humanity for power. Polonius is a man filled with confidence in his knowledge, and while he is a blowhard, and he does spout sayings, his clichés constitute sound advice and his observations prove themselves prophetic. In Hamlet, life and death provides multiple influences and consequences for each of these characters, affecting both their well-beings and sense of meaning.Finik 2Hamlet is a university student of Wittenberg who frequently contemplates on several perplexing philosophical questions, and possibly suicide. When King Hamlet, his father, dies, he returns home to Denmark only to discover that there was evidence of foul play in his father's death. "The serpent that did sting thy father's life/Now wears his crown." (I.V.39-40). The Ghost of King Hamlet tells Hamlet that his uncle Claudius is the murderer. Feeling decisive, Hamlet seeks to prove Claudius' guilt before he takes any action. However, Hamlet is too quick to act at times: he constantly exaggerates his intellect while ignoring his emotions and what feels right. Although his father's death set high emotions for Hamlet, it serves as only one of the troublesome events for Hamlet. The fact that his mother, Gertrude, has ended her mourning and married another man (Claudius) so quickly, shows Hamlet the differences in some peoples thoughts, decisions, and possibly way of life. "Frailty, thy name is women!" (I,II,146). In this quote, Hamlet is speaking in his first soliloquy. The "women" he specifically refers to is his mother. Hamlet feels that Gertrude is weak and not strong enough to mourn his father any longer. Hamlet even continues to say that not even an animal, or beast, who has no reasoning or skills, would have abandoned the mourning so quickly. All in all, this shows how angry and distressed Hamlet is by his mother's marriage. Although Hamlet appears to be the exemplar...

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