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Hamlet

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Claire S

on 7 November 2013

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Transcript of Hamlet

Hamlet
William Shakespeare
Hamlet
Ophelia
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Claudius comes to the realization that as a result of his heinous actions, he will not be able to go to Heaven in the afterlife. He realizes that he has committed a sin and that God will give him no mercy for his deeds. He feels guilty for what he has done and he prays for forgiveness, but he also acknowledges that he would not give up all that he has gained as a result of his sin. Hamlet sees Claudius praying and even though it’s the perfect time to take revenge, Hamlet shows him mercy instead. Hamlet believes that if he takes Claudius' life now, Claudius will go to Heaven because he has confessed his sins. Hamlet wants Claudius to be damned to Hell because of what he did to King Hamlet but Hamlet feels that killing Claudius while he is praying would not be punishment if Claudius went to Heaven. Through Hamlet, Shakespeare shows that religion can affect the decisions a person makes. Both Hamlet and Claudius have this attitude that religion is about going to Heaven or confessing sins rather than about genuine forgiveness and faith and Shakespeare criticizes this selfish belief.
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King Hamlet
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In this scene, Hamlet swears he sees his father's ghost yet his mother cannot see it. He believes he sees this ghost because he is either mentally unbalanced or extremely religious. For the argument that he is very religious, one can suggest that Hamlet has put forth so much effort in believing that God has kept his father on Earth to help Hamlet realize that he must seek revenge for his dead father. The Queen thinks her son is hallucinating, which makes the reader think that Hamlet is seeing things that are not there. Shakespeare proposes that since Hamlet is so religious, he's being convinced of things that are not viable, like his father's ghost. The famous playwright makes the reader think about the negative consequences of being overly religious. He says it makes people become someone who they are not. For example, Hamlet, once a naive, young prince is now a crazed, hallucinating man; all thanks to his religious influence.
In this scene, Hamlet makes the men who have witnessed his father's ghost swear to never speak of what they saw. To strengthen the promise, Hamlet makes them swear on his sword. The sword represents a cross, which implies that they have to solemnly swear to God that they will not speak of the ghost. By having the men swear on the cross, Hamlet shows readers and viewers that his faith in God is stronger than his faith in his own friends. He wants to make sure the other witnesses are scared into not revealing their little secret. By making them swear on the cross, they promise before God that they will not tell a soul about what they have seen. This promise shows that they are afraid of God and what he might do to them. Through this short conversation between Hamlet and the two men, Shakespeare tells his audience that men can be scared into being loyal. With the possible threat of God punishing them for being disloyal, Shakespeare says that people act loyal because they are afraid of the consequences from God. Shakespeare is satirizing this ‘faith’, because he is showing that they are not necessarily worried about breaking their faith and appearing disloyal, they are afraid of what God has in store for them should they defy Him.
Hamlet suggests that his life is meaningless and that he wouldn't care if it was taken away from him. He acts as if his life has no meaning and he wishes to die. However, in the Christian religion, taking one's life is the ultimate sin and will deny one access to Heaven. Shakespeare uses Hamlet’s desire for his own death to show that Hamlet is scared of what will happen to him if he does kill himself. Hamlet's weariness in taking his own life shows the impact of his religion, and how God's power strongly influences him in making decisions with desired actions. Through this short phrase, Shakespeare shows that Hamlet does not necessarily believe in the religious concepts, but the concepts hinder him from making his own decisions. This way of thinking is very immature, because he does not understand the religious concepts, he only follows them to avoid punishment later.
Hamlet describes human beings as all inherently evil, and then proceeds to wish that he was never born so that he does not have to succumb to such evil like everyone else. Hamlet realizes that every living being is a sinner and that Hamlet is no better than any of them. Shakespeare is showing how religion is very persuasive. Since all humans are sinners, religion offers them a way to save themselves from damnation and lift their sins with forgiveness from God. Religion offers a way to help people to assuage the guilt of human sins and offers a way for people to receive forgiveness and hope for a better afterlife. However Shakespeare is saying that nothing is certain and that religion is corrupt. In his play, Shakespeare says that even if someone commits unspeakable crimes, all they have to do is confess their sins to God and everything will be forgiven. By using Hamlet's outlook on all humans as sinners, Shakespeare shows that because we are all damned, there is no practical need for religion nor is confessing one's sins to God a good way to come to terms with the sins that have been committed.
In this short exchange with Ophelia, the King, and the Queen, Ophelia makes certain to tell the King that God is watching him and God sees every wrong move he makes. In a way, she is sort of threatening him not to do anything foolish that God would not approve of. By using Ophelia as the common religious person, Shakespeare says that fear stems from religion. The constant fear of disappointing God or being watched by God is a guiding force in the lives of those who participate in religious activities. Shakespeare emphasizes that some people act a certain way just so that God will approve of their actions and not to satisfy their true desires.
In this scene, the gravediggers who are preparing Ophelia's burial spot wonder if she will have a Christian burial. Since it is now known that she probably killed herself, a Christian burial should be out of the question. Since her father and brother were upstanding members in society, they are willing to overlook this minor detail and give her a proper burial anyway. Ophelia's burial exemplifies the fact that certain aspects of religion are not taken seriously because of personal wants and needs. For example, Laertes wanting his sister to receive a proper Christian burial despite her suicide is against what God would want. However, Laertes wants his sister to go to Heaven, so he chooses to ignore the fact that she killed herself. Shakespeare uses Laertes and Ophelia to demonstrate that people d not always respect religious rules depending on the circumstance.
Claudius
"'O my offense is rank, it smells to heaven; it hath the primal eldest curse upon't, a brother's murder. Pray can I not, though inclination be as sharp as will' [...] 'now he is a-praying,....' [...] 'But in circumstance and course of thought 'tis heavy with him. And am I then revenged to take him in the purging of his soul, when he is fit and seasoned for his passage? No'" (Act 3, Scene 3, Lines 40-91).
"Cut off, even in the blossoms of my sin, unhouseled, disappointed, inane led, no reck'ning made, but sent to my account with all my imperfections on my head" (Act I, Scene 5, Line 83-86).
Here, the ghost of King Hamlet is telling his son Hamlet why he is not at peace spiritually. King Hamlet says the reason he has yet to cross over into Heaven is because he was unable to confess his sins before he was killed. King Hamlet's religion stated that if you sin and do not ask for forgiveness, you will not reach Heaven. This same idea scares Hamlet and makes him want to confess his sins. This way of thinking is exactly what Shakespeare criticizes. Through subtle jabs at religion in his play, Shakespeare shows his readers and viewers that religion frightens followers into submission. Church-goers (like King Hamlet and his son) are scared of not confessing their sins before they die for fear that they will not make it to Heaven. There is also a belief that you can do anything you want and still go to Heaven as long as you confess your sins, which encourages people to behave poorly because they believe it will all be forgiven.
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"'Wherein do you look?' 'On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares' [...] 'Do you see nothing there?' 'Nothing at all; yet all that is I see'" (Act 3, Scene 4, Lines 141-151).
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"'Upon my sword' 'we have sworn, my lord, already' 'indeed, upon my sword indeed' 'swear' [...] 'this do swear, so grace and mercy at your most need help you'" (Act 1, Scene 5, Lines 165-202).
"'You cannot take from me anything that I will more willingly part withal - except my life, except my life, except my life'" (Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 233-235).
"'To be or not be' [...] 'to grunt and sweat under a weary life, but that the dread of something after death' [...] 'thus conscience does make cowards (of us all)'"(Act 3, Scene 1, Lines 64-91).
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Hamlet ponders the thought of which option is better: to be alive or to be dead. He feels that death is the easier way out and that living brings more hardships than necessary. However, with this thought comes the fear of what his afterlife may be like and what will happen to his soul. He knows that taking his own life is thought of as wrong and cowardly in his religious community, but he is unsure of what to do. His fear stems from his religious influences, showing the reader the impact of religion on all decisions made by those who believe in God. According to Christian values, God's word is final., and it is this black and white way of thinking and blind obedience that Shakespeare satirizes.
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"'Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners?' [...] 'mother had not borne me'" (Act 3, Scene 1, Lines 131-132)
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Hamlet takes Polonius's life and understands the horrendous crime he has committed. Despite Hamlet knowing that what he did was wrong, he tries to justify his actions by saying that he did God a favor. That he eliminated an evil person who should never have been living in the first place. Hamlet ignores the fact that he acted rashly and inappropriately and instead tries to make it seem as though he was doing the right thing by helping God out. Here, Shakespeare is trying to show that religion is corrupt. Hamlet dismisses his crime by convincing himself that he did God's work, not for his own personal satisfaction. He hides behind his religion and does not take responsibility for what he has done. Hamlet demonstrates that sometimes people used religion to excuse their actions rather than owning up to their mistakes.

"O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!" (171) "thou, wretched rash, intruding fool, farewell. I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune. Thou find'st to be too busy is some danger." (173) sinned but justifies it (Act 3, Scene 4, Lines 33-40).
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"'And for my soul, what can it do to that' [...] 'Heaven will direct it.' 'Nay, let's follow him" (Act 1 ,Scene 5, Lines 74-102)
Hamlet and the men believe that whatever happens with the ghost is in God's hands and that God has a plan for all of us. Therefore, they have no impact on anything that will occur here in this world. However, before Hamlet leaves with the ghost, Marcellus decides to follow them because he doesn't want to leave the decision of his fate up to God. This shows that Marcellus does not trust in God to make the right decision. Even though Marcellus seems to be a faithful person, he contradicts what he believes by going to see the ghost for himself and not trusting God's decision. Shakespeare satirizes the fact that religious people do not always trust in their God. This is just what Shakespeare is trying to say: that religion is unpredictable and even those who believe in God do not always trust He is making the right choices.
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"'Well, God did you' [...] 'God be at your table'" (Act 4, Scene 5, Lines 47-49).
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"'Is she to be buried in Christian burial, when she willfully seeks her own salvation'" (Act 5, Scene 1, Lines 1-2)?
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