Death in William Shakespeare´s Hamlet Essay

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In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Hamlet struggles with the abrupt death of his father at the hands of his uncle. It is in the very beginning of the play that Hamlet voices his opinion that death would be a peaceful release. But as the play progresses his attitude begins to slowly doubt the serenity in death. Hamlet had been surrounded by death but had yet to come face to face with it, escaping the lessons the world was trying to teach him. It is within Act 5 scene 1 that Hamlet has a direct confrontation with death, manifested primarily through the discovery of Yorick’s skull, a dear friend from his green world childhood. It is through this experience that Hamlet realizes that death is the true equalizer, that all men are the …show more content…

It is not until Hamlet stumbles upon another grave in which he finds a particular skull belonging to Yorick, the king’s jester whom Hamlet admired. He described him as a “fellow of infinite jest and of most excellent fancy.” The skull or Yorick is a symbol and physical reminder of the finality of death. By using suggestive diction like “aching bones” Shakespeare is trying to tell the reader that a significant change in character has occurred. Hamlet, having been so impacted by the discovery reveals a growing interest with the deathly aspect of physical decomposition.
He begins imagining Yorick’s face decomposing on the skull, and looking at the place where his “lips that I have kissed” used to hang. He realizes his own mortality, and begins thinking of great leaders dying, saying “Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returned into dust; the dust is earth; of earth we make loam and why of that loam, whereto he was converted, might they not stop at a beer-barrel?” He continues, thinking of other great men, imagining the dust from Julius Caesar being used to “patch a wall”. In Shakespeare’s great tragedy, Hamlet loses his innocence and ignorance to the reality and finality of death by witnessing the powerlessness of the person once they have

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