Hamlet: Live By The Sword, Die By The Sword Essay, Research Paper
Hamlet: Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword
It is commonly said that if you play too close with the fire, you are
going to get burned. This generally means that if you live a dangerous
lifestyle, then you will eventually falter and suffer the consequences. In
Shakespeare’s Hamlet, there are many cases where characters are killed because
they lived a murderous lifestyle. Claudius murders his own brother and is then
murdered himself. Laertes kills Hamlet but is killed himself before Hamlet dies.
Hamlet murders Polonius and Laertes avenges his father by killing Hamlet. The
lives and deaths of these three individuals are inextricably interwoven. Their
destinies are forged by the others actions. To attempt to separate the life and
death of each separate character would be impossible because their destinies are
so closely tied together. Each one’s destiny is determined by the actions of
not only their life but also the reactions of others.
Claudius, King Hamlet’s brother, desires to have more power than he
currently has. He devises and executes a plan to murder his brother, the king
by placing poison in the sleeping man’s ear. The king dies from the poisoning,
and Claudius exclaims that the king must have been bitten by a snake and died
from the venom. ?The serpent that did sting thy father’s life now wears the
crown.? (p 29) It is the perfect crime except that young Hamlet gets wind of
the evil deed from the ghost of his father. Hamlet is told that the only way to
put his father’s soul to rest is to right the crime that was committed. So
Hamlet sets his sights on proving that Claudius murdered his father. Hamlet
devises an ingenious plan to trap Claudius. He rigs a play to portray the same
murder that Claudius commits. ?You shall see anon how the murderer gets the
love of Gonzago’s wife? (p 79) Claudius is very shaken by this and stops the
play. Later on, Hamlet is speaking to his mother and chasticizing her on her
inappropriate behavior. Polonius, Alert’s father, is listening in on the
conversation from behind a large tapestry. When Polonius speaks, Hamlet send
his sword through the tapestry and kills the old man. Claudius and the queen
send Hamlet away. After many trials, Hamlet returns to Denmark. He is
challenged by Laertes to a duel. Hamlet does not know, however, that Laertes
and Claudius are planning to kill him. Laertes cuts Hamlet with a sword
containing a lethal poison, thus condemning Hamlet. ?A hit, a very palpable
hit.? (p 142) Hamlet then plunges his sword through Laertes. Laertes admits
that the king had planned to kill Hamlet. Upon hearing this, Hamlet kills
Claudius before death finally takes him too.
In Hamlet’s case, he devotes his own life to destroying Claudius. He
accidentally kills Polonius in the process. Hamlet lives quite recklessly and
doesn’t pay close attention to his surroundings. For his crimes of murder,
Hamlet pays the ultimate price as God takes his life from him. Hamlet lived a
life of murderous treachery. He lived to kill his uncle. And because of the
way that he has chosen to live, he dies.
Claudius murders his own brother the plans to murder Hamlet much the
same way. He lives a live of deception and trickery. In the end, Claudius is
turned in my his own follower, Laertes. Claudius suffers the worst death of the
three people because he must watch his wife die at his own hand, and he can do
nothing to stop her death. He lives his whole life leading people on and
controlling them and is deceived himself in the end.
Laertes decides to get revenge for his fathers death. He teams up with
Claudius, so they can take Hamlet down together. So after stealing the life
from Hamlet, he realizes that he shouldn’t have listened to Claudius.
Unfortunately it is too late for him because Hamlet stabs him and kills him.
All three of these deaths are directly related to one another. They are
all interwoven incidents that cause one another to occur. All three people
chose to live a violent lifestyle and all died because of this choice. In life,
out destinies are determined by the way we choose to live. If you live a
dangerous life, you may die soon. All of our lives are interwoven in to the
fabric of life. One bad thread messes up everything.