Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hamlet: His Obsession with Death

“To be or not to be, that is the question…” Hamlet’s soliloquy is one of the most famous in literature. His contemplation of death and his obsessions with the spiritual matters occurs throughout the play and still a matter of contemplation among the scholars. Hamlet saw death as a reliable end to mortal suffering, something that can bring comfort (Watson, pf. 55). However, we clearly see a shift in Hamlet’s attitude towards death as the play progresses. He surrenders himself to his own fate – what God has in store for him… whether it is life or death. His contemplation of death and its nature gives way to a new Hamlet who has made peace with the world and is ready for whatever fate thrusts into his life.

Hamlet is usually seen as a philosophical character. He is always spilling out ideas throughout his soliloquies that can be classified as existentialist or skeptical at best. One of the classic examples in of his relativist ideas is seen in the quote “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” (Weller, Hamlet, Act II, scene II). What makes the skeptics and the scholars equally passionate is his view towards death and its evolution.

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