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Hamlet's Philosophy of Life

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Nick Williams

on 3 January 2011

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Transcript of Hamlet's Philosophy of Life

Philosophy of Life / Death Suicide Fate Death Life Hamlet has had many opinions throughout the play about how things in life work out:

Hamlet believes that humans are amazing creatures because they are capable of doing so many things. He also believes the world is a beautiful place. To Hamlet though the world seems nothing more than air, "it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours." (Shakespeare II.ii. 301-303) and humans are nothing more than dust "And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?"(Shakespeare II.ii. 308).

In another speech, Hamlet points out the uselessness of the law and no matter how much you gain in life its not going to mean anything when you die. This is shown when Hamlet said "The very conveyances of his lands will hardly lie in this box" (Shakspeare V.i.107-108). Hamlet is revealing that you can obtain many material items in life, but ultimately when you die you won't be able to bring these items to the grave with you, so what is the importance in having them. Throughout the play Hamlet talks about dying and the effect of dying on life:

Hamlet believes that when you die your body is no longer of any use. It will enventually turn to dust or earth . He believes that great people in death return to the earth. Hamlet shows he thinks this when he quotes "O, that that earth which keep the world in awe, Should patch a wall to expel the winter’s flaw!" (Shakespeare V.i.209-210). Hamlet is saying that during your life you may have accomplished great things but after your death you are of no further use to the world, other than dirt which could be used for patching a wall.

Hamlet seeks out revenge but is conflicted as to when to seek his revenge. If he tries to kill his uncle when his uncle is praying he believes that his revenge will backfire and his uncle will be sent to heaven. If he should wait till his uncle is committing a sin, then kill him, Hamlet believes his uncle will go to hell. Hamlet wants to make sure that his uncle does not live a full life, since he stole the long life from his father. He wants him to die well before he would die by natural causes.

Hamlet also believes dying is sleeping that ends all the heartaches and shocks that life gives, and the fear of what your going to dream during that sleep is the reason why the suffering or life is streched out longer. There are a few times throughout the play when Hamlet considers suicide:

At the start of the play Hamlet wishes that he could commit suicide because the world has lost all joy to him since his father's death. This is illustrated when he says “O, that this too too-solid flesh would melt,/Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!/Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d/His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! God! O God!/How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable, /Seem to me all the uses of this world!" (Shakespeare I.ii.130-134).

Hamlet's life has become pointless without his father who was a good King and a good husband to his mother. For Hamlet, to live is to suffer.

Hamlet believes that God has made suicide against the law.

During the play, Hamlet asks himself whether it is better to suffer through life, or seek an end to the suffering that is life "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." (Shakespeare III.i .58-61).

Although suicide looks like an achievement to wish for, Hamlet feels there could be fears that are far greater after death. Hamlet ponders over his future several times throughout the play:

Hamlet does not believe in superstition.

He believes all things will work out as they are destined to be. This is shown when he says "If it be now, ‘tis/not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it/be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all" (Shakespeare V.ii.211-213). This means that all things will happen when they are meant to happen and to be prepared for them when it does.

In Scene 4, Act 3 when Hamlet says "A man may fish with the worm that hath eat out of a/King, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm." (Shakespeare IV.iii.28-29) he is basically saying what goes around, comes around.

I believe it is fate that is keeping Hamlet from killing his uncle. Although Hamlet is in turmoil with God, who did not create humans with the power of thoughts and strength if He did not want Hamlet to use it. Although Hamlet believes he thinks too much and is perhaps a coward for not having completed the deed. "How all occasions do inform me, And spur my dull revenge! What is a man, If his chief good and his market of his time Be but to sleep and feed? a beast no more. " (Shakespeare IV.iv.32-35) by Nick Williams
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