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The Onion Of Death Essay

743 words - 3 pages

Life is a very delicate thing. In Sunday School this past Sunday morning I heard a man speak on how the fragility of our lives is relatable to that of sheep. The man said once he heard one of his sheep coming around the corner of his barn and jumped out to scare it, literally instantly killing it with fear. We are not always as tough and superfluous as we think we are. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet often finds himself much closer to death than he once thought. Hamlet creeps closer to death in Act V through three circumstances: Ophelia’s death, Laertes’ challenge to a duel, and the King’s foolish plans to get rid of Hamlet.
First, Hamlet becomes close to death through the passing of his loved one, Ophelia. Hamlet has no idea when the Act opens that not only is Ophelia dead but he’s standing right next to her grave. Just moments before her body is carried onto the scene, in fact, Hamlet jokes with a skull about her. He says, “Now get you to my lady’s chamber and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must come.” (scene I, line 179) He unknowingly jokes with his previous jester’s head to go fetch a woman who is in reality dead. This creates an aspect of humor and of dramatic irony for Shakespeare’s audience to enjoy. This also is the first corpse that Hamlet encounters in the final Act of this tragedy, bringing him slowly closer to his own demise in the second scene.
In addition, Hamlet comes closer to death through Laertes’s challenge. At the burial of Ophelia, Hamlet and Laertes wrestle till the King has them split apart, which no doubt makes Laertes rage for Hamlet even greater. Before Hamlet choses whether or not to participate in this event, however, his closest friend Horatio asks him to reconsider, though Hamlet declines. Horatio says, “If your mind dislike anything, obey it.” (scene II, Line 209) Horatio is asking Hamlet to reconsider if he has any bad feelings. At this point Hamlet has the plan to escape his fate and...

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