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Fear Of Death In Hamlet

Decent Essays
One of the most common fears is that of death. This fear does not often stem from the process itself, but rather the question of what occurs after. Do we begin living another life? Will that life be better or worse than the one we previously led? These questions are filled with uncertainty, and the impossibility of answering them produces distress. In Hamlet, Hamlet struggles with the challenge of answering such questions himself when he laments, “To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub / For in that sleep of death what dreams may come / When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, / Must give us pause. There’s the respect / That makes calamity of so long life” (3.1.66-70). Within Shakespeare’s tragedy, the text signifies the fear of the unknown by exploring Hamlet’s uneasy contemplation of life after death. By characterizing the aftereffects of death as dreams, Hamlet creates a metaphor and implies that we all wish to experience that final sleep, but it is the uncertainty of what may come that prevents us from doing so of our own accord. Each night, we close our eyes and take a gamble; our sleep may consist of a pleasant fantasy, a horrible nightmare, or nothing at all. Just as we prepare ourselves for sleep each night, unsure if our impending visions will be those of horror or delight, we ready ourselves for death. However, we voluntarily succumb to sleep with the promise of reawakening, but it is the finality of death that prohibits us from being as willing
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