Hamet: Soliloquies Essay, Research Paper
Soliloquies of Hamlet
One thing that humankind is unsure about is the idea of an afterlife . This is a debatable topic, because there is no solid proof of a life after death but more than half of the people in the world believe there is a place that exists. Some believe that once a person transcends to the other side then they get reincarnated, or a more common belief is of a heaven and a hell. Heaven is a place where the good people would go and hell would be a place where the bad people go and the place in the middle is for repenting and it is called perjury. In the play Hamlet written by William Shakespeare, the protagonist Hamlet believes that if your do something bad then you will go to hell unless you confess your sins. In this play, Hamlet was faced with a tough decision, the decision was whether he kills the king for the sins that the king committed or let him free. Hamlets makes the decision that he must take revenge and follow his father s wishes, but when it comes down to actually going along with the plan then hamlet delays. Hamlet delays his actions consistently because he does not feel right about killing Claudius, but the main reason is that he is scared death and what would follow. Through an examination of Hamlet s soliloquies, it is shown that Hamlet fears death and the afterlife.
Some of the most famous words in literature are found in act three scene one, and these words are To be or not to be (III.i.56). This soliloquy is very complex and it talks about death. In this soliloquy Hamlet is a little more calmer and reasonable then his previous two. Hamlet starts an internal philosophical debate on the advantages and the disadvantages of existence, and whether it is moral to end one s life. Hamlet uses the words:
To be, or not to be
Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. (III.i.56-60)
He is trying to answer a question about life and death, and asks himself if it is better to live miserably or end one s sorrow with a single stroke. Although Hamlet would end his life if it was like a dream in which he could wake from, but since this is not a dream, then he is afraid of what awaits on the other side, this is shown when he says But the dread of something after death, The undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveler returns (III.i.78-80). Based on this soliloquy, the reader can see that Hamlet is truly afraid of death, yet he makes numerous references to committing suicide in this soliloquy and also the first.
Hamlet s first soliloquy deals mainly with suicide. In this scene, Hamlet says that his religion is the force that is stopping him from committing suicide. The reason for this is because Catholics believe that it is a sin to kill something that God created. This is shown when he says Or that the Everlasting had not fixed His canon gainst self-slaughter (I.ii.131-132). Hamlet will not commit suicide due to his strong beliefs of right and wrong, and if hamlet were to kill himself then it would be as if he would be condemning himself to hell. Hamlet starts the soliloquy of by saying, O that this too too sullied flesh would melt, That and resolve itself into dew (I.ii.129-130). Hamlet is disgusted by himself and he can see no other outcome then death. He would rather return to a time of innocence, but he cannot because he has responsibilities that must be dealt with. When this tragic hero later speaks to his father s ghost then he is given the responsibility to kill Claudius. This new responsibility is another reason for Hamlet to end his life and not have to worry about anything else, but he can not get himself through it without knowing what lies on the other side. It seems as if Hamlet cannot stand the physical side of life anymore, he needs to get rid of his body sullied flesh and deal with his inner conflict. Some of these conflicts are the death of his father and his mother s hasty remarriage. Hamlet briefly talks about his father saying, He was an excellent king, that was to this Hyperion to a satyr (I.ii.139-140). Although hamlet listens to the ghost, later he contradicts himself by wondering if the ghost was real.
In the second act, hamlet forms a plan to kill Claudius. He makes a plan, and is ready to proceed but gets thought s that the ghost may not be telling the truth, or that it might be an evil ghost. This is shown when he says, The spirit that I have seen May be a devil (II.i.610-611). Inside of himself Hamlet knows that this spirit is good but he is delaying his actions due to his fear of the afterworld. Hamlet is afraid that if he does kill and happens to die himself then he may have to suffer the same fate as his father or even worse. Hamlet delays from killing Claudius again when he is outside his room. The reason that he des not kill Claudius at that moment in time is because Claudius is in the middle of a prayer, and in order for revenge to be complete, the king has to be engaged in some sinful act such as gambling or drinking. This is shown when Hamlet says Now might I do it pat, now a is as praying, And now I ll do it. And so a goes to heaven (III.ii.73-80). This reason is just a scapegoat of Hamlets outlining his fear, he is not going with what he should be doing because his emotions have taken a better part of him, and he is scared the afterlife so he delays killing the king.