The Mystery of Death in Hamlet’s eyes.

One main theme in Hamlet is the Mystery of Death. Our morbid friend, Hamlet, is obsessed with the idea of death, which he looks at from a many viewpoints. Through-out the play he thinks about what happens to the spirit after death, the ghost of his father, and the corpse void of life.

At first, through his dramatic mourning of his father’s death, we see that Hamlet is deeply concerned with the fact that though his father has been dead not two months his mother has already remarried his uncle. “But two months dead/ Must I remember? Why she would hang on him / married with mine uncle,/ But break my heart, I must hold my tongue.” (1.1 138-159) He is freaking out because of his mother’s remarriage, saying she loved him so much how can she just up and marry his brother, am I the only one who cares?

This is somewhat meaningless to the play itself, but in many adaptions of the play he is depicted as the only one wearing black because he is the most distraught. Which, I think, puts it more into context for the audience because he is in serious mourning mode.

When he is finally visited by the ghost of his father he gets even more obsessive about death, because the ghost sort of orders him to take his uncle out to exact his revenge on Claudius, to which Hamlet is all to keen to because of his morbid curiosity and obsession. He also talks about whether or not suicide is morally acceptable if he feels life is too painful in this world, he is scared of course of the eternal damnation that the Christian religion claims if he were to follow through.  “To be or not to be; that is the question: whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against the sea of troubles and by opposing end them. To die, to sleep” (3.1 58-62) And of course Ophelia answers half of the question for him, and maybe he gave her the idea? But was she already more messed up that he was? What a great soliloquy Hamlet, you coward.

Of course he has a few physical manifestations of his obsessed, his murders, Yorick’s skull, and the decaying corpses in the cemetery.  Yorick’s skull in particular, evoking all of Hamlet’s morbid-ness to which he laments on the death of “poor Yorick” to Horatio. And even talking about Alexander the great “Dost thou think Alexander looked o’ this fashion i’th’ earth?” (5.1 193-194) What the heck Hamlet? You need to calm down. But of course he doesn’t calm down. He turns into a murderer, albeit a justified murder, and thus we have our morbid play.

~Alexandra Watkins


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