Meanings Behind Motiffs of Death in Hamlet by William Shakespeare
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Throughout the play, Hamlet is obsessed with the idea of death due to his determination for vengeance for his father and death seems to follow wherever he goes, and his, “pursuit of an essentially immoral act of revenge killing…may result in his eternal damnation” (BOOK 2). Shakespeare uses the motif of death to show how if one obsesses over an idea it can eventually cause the corruption of the environment around him.
The motif of death in Hamlet is used early on in the play when the ghost of Hamlet’s father appears. His friends warned him about how listening to the ghost could be a bad idea, most likely due to the fact that ghosts were seen as bad omens. With the ghost initiating Hamlet’s curiosity in how his father died, the unhealthy interest in the death of his father, “prove(s)dangerous to him, and his genius…(to exaggerate a little) become(s) his doom,” as he starts to he meticulously plan the famous play within a play scene to expose Claudius. (BOOK 1). Even though he had successfully affirmed that Claudius had indeed killed Hamlet’s father, the side effects of his faked insanity causes his life, as well as those around him, to crumble as well.
Hamlet’s irrational behavior of thirsting for revenge causes those around him to die. When Polonius is stabbed by Hamlet because of Hamlet’s insane craving for revenge on Claudius, whom he thought he was stabbing, “Hamlet, acting blindly through impulse, slays the wrong one; the result is — guilt. This warning, therefore,