Death theme In the play Hamlet by Shakespeare

Topics: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Death Pages: 4 (1432 words) Published: July 2, 2009
Death has always been the most debated subject regarding humans belief. It is part of life, yet a mystery nobody has experienced to tell. It is said to drive people's actions, however Death is still a mystery as the whole human race still wonders how it acts on people's lives and what is next after Death. In the play Hamlet, Shakespeare uses the theme of Death to drive the characters actions, and portrays the tragedy through their dialogues and significant symbols to create a tragic atmosphere.

The first sign of Death is the appearance of King Hamlets ghost. The play is set only two months after his death, which is the lead for the events following in the play. He appeared at the platform before Elsinore castle as Horatio pictures, with that fair and warlike form (Shakespeare I.i.55-56 p1326). Even the apparel suggests a killing attitude. The Ghost, the symbol of Death, reveals the truth of him being murdered by his own brother to his son, Hamlet, and asks for revenge. Because of King Hamlets death, Claudius gets the throne and Gertrude betrays her late husband and remarries with Claudius. The murder and the betrayal, therefore, become the main grounds for Hamlets actions. The young Hamlet is given a valid reason to be mad and willing to accept the role of spreading death. The Ghost is the seed for killing, revenge, and death later on in the play (Boyce, Ghost). Another foreshadowing of Death in Act I is the line of Marcellus: Something is rotten in the state of Denmark (I.iv.99 p1342). The feeling this guard gets is from the scene of the ghost, along with the dreadful death of King Hamlet not long ago. It also foretells the outcome of the story.

Death is presented mainly through characters dialogue. When Hamlet does not know yet the true reason of his fathers death, he thought about committing suicide. Deeply depressed about his mothers too early remarriage, Hamlet considers the opportunity to escape the "whips and scorns of time." Here he thinks of Death...

Cited: oyce, Charles. "Ghost." Critical Companion to William Shakespeare: A Literary Reference toHis Life and Work, Critical Companion. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2005. Facts On File, Inc. Bloom 's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=1&iPin=ffazshak0819&SingleRecord=True (accessed June 24, 2009).
Boyce, Charles. "Hamlet." Critical Companion to William Shakespeare: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work, Critical Companion. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2005. Facts On http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=1&iPin=ffazshak0910&/SingleRecord=True (accessed June 29, 2009).
Boyce, Charles. "Hamlet." Critical Companion to William Shakespeare: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work, Critical Companion. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2005. Facts On http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=1&iPin=ffazshak0910&/SingleRecord=True (accessed June 29, 2009).
Quinn, Edward. "death theme in literature." A Dictionary of Literary and Thematic Terms,Second Edition. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2006. Bloom 's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=1&iPin=Gfflithem0196&SingleRecord=True (accessed June 29, 2009).
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Rpt. in Compact LiteratureReading Reacting Writing. By Kirszner and Mandell. 6th ed. Boston, MA: 2007.
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