The Significance of Suicide in Hamlet

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The Significance of Suicide in Hamlet

The concept of suicide is one that is greatly contemplated and discussed by Hamlet and other characters in William Shakespeare's play. It can be seen through two of Hamlet's soliloquies and his overall demeanor throughout the play. Hamlet has many issues that he must deal with such as the death of his father and the marriage of his uncle and mother. These two incidents led Hamlet to consider the extreme act of suicide to escape the fate that he had been bestowed. Although Hamlet did not commit suicide, in the end the path that he took inevitably led to his suicidal intentions and his eventual downfall. The contemplation of suicide threatens Hamlet and various characters in the play leading to the demise of the characters and the kingdom of Denmark. The sudden and tragic death of King Hamlet left the kingdom of Denmark and more importantly his son, Prince Hamlet, in a state of distress; as a quick fix to this problem Claudius married Gertrude. In the beginning of the play, after Hamlet's confrontation with Claudius, he states in his soliloquy that, “O, that this too too solid flesh would melt / Thaw and resolve itself into a dew! / Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd / His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!”(Act I, Sc. 2) Hamlet clearly expresses his Christian beliefs and his fear of being punished for “self-slaughter.” He believes that it is better to live in his current state then be damned to hell in the afterlife. One may view this outburst as his method of venting or an over exaggerated teenage rant. For it seems that Hamlet is not capable of dealing with the death of his father or the marriage, however incestuous it may be, in a reasonable and non-destructive way. The appearance of his father's ghost sparked a fire inside of Hamlet; he took it upon himself to avenge his father's death; a deed that he would not be able to complete if he committed suicide. Hamlet's Christian beliefs may have held him back from...
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