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The Life And Death Of Prince Hamlet

1233 words - 5 pages

The Life and Death of Prince Hamlet Plagued by the philosophical aspects of life and death, Prince Hamlet repeatedly failed to act upon avenging his father's wrongful murder. Though he knew what he must do, Hamlet's inaction is caused by his constantly changing persona and theories on the inevitability of death and the afterlife. Hamlet's attitude towards death changes from fearing death and the afterlife to accepting it as inevitable, manipulating his actions and causing him to make distinct decisions, such as not killing Claudius, his father's slayer, while he is at prayer, but rather to wait to take action against Claudius when he is in a state of sin, in order to assure his damnation. Initially, deeply depressed, Hamlet often contemplates suicide and the opportunity to escape the "whips and scorns of time." His inability to follow through with these contemplations, however, is demonstrated by his philosophical method of thinking and questioning the morality of all his actions.Whether tis nobler in the mind to sufferThe slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,Or to take arms against a sea of troublesAnd, by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep -No more - and by a sleep to say we endThe heartache and the thousand natural shocksThat flesh is heir to... (III, i, 65-71) Seeing an opportunity to escape his own depression, Hamlet questions the nobility of an action such as suicide. Hamlet, however, realizes that "for in that sleep of death what dreams may come." The dreams of the sleep of death represent the possibility of a worse situation. The Prince ultimately proclaims that no one would " - bear To grunt and sweat under a weary life," if not prevented by their own fear of what lies after death."But that the dread of something after death,The undiscovered country from whose bournNo traveler returns, puzzles the willAnd makes us rather bear those ills we haveThan fly to others that we know not of..." (III, i, 86-90)Hamlet's statement reflects his own theory of why people in general fear death. He believes that death would not be so feared if it were not for the unknowingness that is associated with the afterlife. In truth, all the ills and hardships of life could in fact be insignificant when compared to the hardships that may come with the afterlife. Hamlet's fear of the afterlife prevents him from acting on his contemplation of suicide.After learning from his father's ghost of the wrongful murder that has occurred, Hamlet vows to swiftly avenge his father's death. Despite harshly spoken and powerful vows, the Prince fails to act immediately, a result of his fear of unjustifiably taking the life of another.I know my course. The spirit that I have seenMay be a devil, and the devil hath powerT' assume a pleasing shape; yea and perhaps,Out of my weakness and my melancholy,As he is very potent with such spirits,Abuses to damn me. I'll have groundMore relative than this. (II, ii, 627-633) Hamlet proclaims that he fears the...

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