The Significance of Death and Sex to William Shakespeare

Decent Essays
The Significance of Death and Sex to William Shakespeare

In this essay, I will consider Death and Sin in Shakespearean drama and I would like to look at three of Shakespeare's tragic plays: "Hamlet", "Othello" and "King Lear".

Shakespeare uses many themes in all his play that attract audiences throughout history. The things he wrote about are as relevant now as they were in his time. Death and Sin were issues that are always around. In his plays, Shakespeare could comment on these things and make audiences see things that they could not before.

In Hamlet, we can see clear examples of Death and Sin as significant to Shakespearean drama.

The first thing that points to both death and sin is the inclusion of a ghost in the play.
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Claudius is the cause of a death and therefore also the committer of a sin, and having committed incest, he is guilty of two sins. The cause of the revelations on Claudius' character as revealed by the ghost make him a hated character in the play by the audience. There is normally a character that the audience know everything about, giving cause for them to hate him, and Claudius is "Hamlets" hated Character.

Religion in the 16th Century was still a prominent issue. Religion had changed from Catholicism to Christianity, depending on which monarch was on the throne at the time. People were expected to change religion depending on what their monarch said or face being an outcast. In Elizabeth's reign, the religion changed from Catholicism to Protestantism. Being unsure of religions myself, the definition in the Collins pocket dictionary is as follows:
"Protestant: n 1 follower of any of the Christian churches that split from the Roman Catholic Church in the sixteenth century. Adj 2 of or relating to such a church. Protestantism n"
In the Ten Commandments, written for the Christian faith, there are some elements that must be followed that are also relevant to Shakespeare's writing:

"Honour thy father and thy mother. Then you will live a long time in the land."
"You must not murder anyone."
"You must not be guilty of adultery."
"You must not want to take your neighbours house. You must not want his
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