Suicide in Hamlet

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In William Shakespeare's Hamlet, suicide is an important and continuous theme throughout the play. Hamlet is the main character who contemplates the thought of suicide many different times throughout the play, since the murder of his father. Hamlet weighs the advantages of leaving his miserable life with the living, for possibly a better but unknown life with the dead. Hamlet seriously contemplates suicide, but decides against it, mainly because it is a mortal sin against God. Hamlet continues to say that most of humanity would commit suicide and escape the hardships of life, but do not because they are unsure of what awaits them in the after life. Hamlet throughout the play is continually tormented by his fathers death and his inability to get revenge and Claudius and on several occasions seriously considers suicide, but always ends up backing out because it is a sin forbidden by God. Opehlia, on the other hand, is driven mad by her father's murder and by Hamlet's betrayal and commits suicide. But because she is part of the royal family, her sin is forgiven and she is given a full Christian burial, despite even the priests' suspicions about the cause of her death. With suicide being so openly displayed and discussed in the play, it seems that suicide was not on any social level, considered anything degrading or disrespectful.

We first see Hamlet contemplate suicide after Claudius and Getrude ask him to stay in Denmark, rather than return to Wittenburg to resume his studies against his wishes. In Hamlet's first soliloquy, Hamlet clearly wants to commit suicide, and wishes that his, "solid flesh would melt,/Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!" (I. ii. 133-134). Hamlet wishes that his body would melt away so he would not have to see Claudius and Getrude together again, and pretend as though all is well. Hamlet explains to us that he does want to die, but he says he can not because, "the Everlasting had not fix'd/His canon ‘gainst self slaughter! O...
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