Death and Suicide in Hamlet by William Shakespeare

1100 WordsJun 25, 20185 Pages
Suicide, originating from the Latin phrase sui cadere, “to kill oneself”, is one of the top leading causes of death worldwide. Every year, more than a million people commit suicide, successfully ending whatever feelings of despair, pressure, or suffering they felt when alive. Yet statistics show that the number of nonfatal suicide attempts exceeds that of actual completed suicides. Failed attempts of taking one’s own life reveal the deep, undermining uncertainties humans have about death. Such inquiries as to whether life or death is better stream into human perception. Fear of the unknown often paralyzes the courses of action one sets out to accomplish. Likewise, fear of death and the afterlife frequently results in people postponing…show more content…
The use of enjambments by Shakespeare in Hamlet’s soliloquy further emphasizes the apprehension of death. The ending of a flow of thought onto the next line allows the reader to feel a sense of disorder. As Hamlet considers death to contain many confusing elements, the reader can identify more with the feelings of discomfort Hamlet tries to convey about the prospects of death. The feelings of timidity toward the afterlife inhibit plans of ample preparation as they “lose the name of action” (III.i.89). Believing that this trepidation that lingers in the conscience of human minds makes “cowards of us all” (III.i.84), Hamlet professes his own cowardice and inner frustration in his inability to take quick, affirmative action. Instead of instantly avenging his father, Hamlet thinks through every detail in a careful, logical way. Hamlet’s procrastination in killing Claudius foreshadows his own downfall as his slow actions give Claudius the opportunity to dispose of Hamlet, as the prince is now a threat to the throne and power Claudius holds in possession. Similarly, Hamlet has thoughts on suicide, yet he does not take his own life. Although capable of thinking such deeds, Hamlet is unable to perform the actions neither efficiently nor effectively due to his over-analytical and contemplative nature. The various ambiguities associated with
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