Hamlet Assignment: Meaning of Death



 Hamlet Assignment: Meaning of Death 

Hamlet by Shakespeare was a tragedy that may have influenced a lot of people including myself. This tragedy starts off with a dark and emotional introduction which sets the mood for what will happen in the near future. In the beginning of Hamlet, Hamlet meets his dead father’s ghost who tells him that his brother Claudius was the one who killed him. After hearing those words come from a ghost Hamlet was a bit skeptical, but he believed the words the ghost stated. From this  point on Hamlet seeks to avenge his father by killing his murderer. Although Hamlet’s objective was to eliminate his father’s killer, he ends up killing a lot more people.  

The mood in the beginning of the story was dark and moody, this atmosphere preparing the reader for the amount of grief and deaths that would soon come. “I am thy father’s spirit” (Act I, Scene V, line 13). In other words, Hamlet meets his dead father’s ghost and was mainly the only one that could see and hear him. The ghost goes on to tell Hamlet that the one who killed him was his brother Claudius. “The serpent that did sting thy father’s life now wears his crown” (Act I, lines 44-45). Hamlet (shock with surprise) states “O my prophetic soul! My uncle!” After finding out who killed his father, Hamlet immediately seeks revenge and tries to kill Claudius. 
In act III, scene IV the first death out of many occurs. Hamlet went to meet his mother (queen Gertrude), while talking to his mother Polonius(Ophelia’s father) was spying on their conversation from behind the arras. Hamlet gets really upset talking to his mother and the queen calls for help “Help, Help, ho!” (Act III, line 24). Polonius jumps out from behind the arras in attempts to protect the queen. Hamlet quickly draws his knife and stabs Polonius thinking he was Claudius. Hamlet believed that the meeting was a setup to get him killed which is why he was on high alert. 

The act of death seems to be a recurring theme for this tragedy, as is for a lot of tragedies. Ophelia was greatly in love with Hamlet so when she found out about her father’s death she was sad and depressed, she couldn’t take it any more . And the fact that the one she loved was the killer made it even worse on her. At this point Ophelia starts to go a little “insane”. The queen states “Drown’d, Drown’d” (Act IV,line 201). Ophelia has killed herself because of how sad and alone she felt.  Ophelia marks the second visual death in Hamlet. However, this would not be the last. 

While Claudius and Hamlet are still trying to kill each other from a distance, more people die. Claudius asks Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Hamlet’s old friends) to spy on Hamlet. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern had a letter that was an issue to have Hamlet executed. “No, not to stay the grinding of the axe, My head should be struck off” (Act V, Scene II, line 25-26). Before the letter was sent, Hamlet spotted the letter and rewrote it so it is said to have Rosencrantz and Guildenstern executed. He resealed it perfectly and put it back. Hamlet sat down with Horatio and told him what he had done, “Devised a new commission, wrote it fair” (line 34). Horatio was always there for Hamlet when he needed help or just someone to lean on, and that’s what makes him a good friend.

Another death happens because of Claudius’ wrong doings, the queen dies by drinking from a poisoned glass that was met for Hamlet. “No, no! the drink, the drink!- O my dear Hamlet!- the drink, the drink! I am poison’d” (act V, scene II). The queen drinks the poisoned drink knowing it was poised as an act of betrayal, she did not want Claudius’ plan to fall into place so she drinks in instead. However, before the queen died Hamlet was stabbed by Laertes with the poisoned sword, then Hamlet stabs Laertes with the same sword and kills him. Then after the queen was poisoned Hamlet states “the point envenom’d too! Then, venom, to thy work.” (act V, Scene II, line 329) then stabs Claudius. Once Claudius is dead Hamlet finally feels like he has avenged his father’s death. Hamlet lies down his life and dies by Horatio’s side. 

All over, the environment in the beginning is what prepared Shakespeare’s readers for the very eventful future.  Most of the characters in this play died, including the main character, which shows that not all literature pieces can have a happy ending. Revenge and vengeance is a major theme in Hamlet. Shakespeare represents death as the consequence of revenge, for example Hamlet’s seek for revenge got a lot of people killed. Hamlet wasn’t really thinking about the effects his actions would have on the people around him. Horatio would have to live in the shadow of Hamlet’s death for the rest of his life, however Hamlet never thought about that. Death was represented in the play with the skull one of the clowns threw up. Skulls are often a symbol of death in a lot of literature. 
Hamlet’s undertaking about his actions led him and a lot of people to their death. Getting revenge was the only concern for Hamlet, from the point where he heard who killed his father to the end where Claudius died.