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ROLE OF RELIGION IN HAMLET
Transcript of ROLE OF RELIGION IN HAMLET
Queen Mary I
-Mary reigned from 1553-1558 -known as Bloody Mary
-burned over 300 Protestants to follow her Father's beliefs on Catholicism
- Elizabeth reigned from 1558-1603
- Allowed the freedom to practice Catholicism, but only privately
- Shakespeare was born during her rein.
King Henry VIII's Family Tree
Although it is confirmed that Shakespeare was raised in a Catholic family, it remains unclear as to what religion he espoused. But the time period he lived in influenced his works, especially Hamlet.
Shakespeare used this struggle between the Catholic and Protestant balance of religious power to fuel his entertainment purposes.
To believe or not to believe?
He sparked the reformation in 1517 by posting his 95 theses on the castle church doors in Wittenberg, Germany.
He introduced Protestantism
Luther's works spread and influenced different countries, including England.
Which Religion did Shakespeare favour in the playwright
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,/than are dreamt of in your philosophy." (1.5.167-8)
Various religions believe that heaven is considered the abode of God ( or the Gods) and of the good after death.
"I am your father’s spirit,/ doomed for a certain term to walk the night/ And for the day confined to fast in fires/ Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature/ Are burnt and purged away" (1.5.9-13)
Hamlet's father dies without receiving his last rites of the Church which causes his soul to be sent to purgatory.
" The cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." (Revelation 21:8)
Claudius portrays the characteristics of an individual who is most likely to go to hell in the play
Claudius is a murderer and he lies to the "... ear of Denmark"(1.5.35)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines purgatory as a "purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven," which is experienced by those "who die in God’s grace and friendship, but who are still imperfectly purified" (CCC 1030).
This provides the evidence that purgatory was a known belief throughout the time period.
soul of a dead person that appears in body likeliness to the living and normally died a terrible death.
"It is a damned ghost that we have seen,/And my imaginations are foul/As Vulcan's stithy."(3.2.81-83)
, King Hamlet died an untimely death and was condemned to roam the nights as a ghost.
Protestant: Ghosts were regarded as demons who sought the downfall of their victims following in the devils footsteps. This can be seen in Hamlet when Hamlet says:
Roman Catholic Church: Souls would go to purgatory and were purged of their sins but would sometimes return to earth based on needs of repentance such as with King Hamlet.
Worst Sin- Despair
Felonia De seipso VS. Non Compos Mentis
"Her obequies have been as far enlarged As we have warranty: her death was doubtful; And, but that great command o'ersways the order, She should in ground unsanctified have lodged" (5.1.220-223)
Didn't know what comes after death
Social Disgrace - Father
Religious beliefs - Self-slaughter, Only God can decide when you die
"O That This Too Sullied Flesh Would Melt" Soliloquy in Act 1 Scene 2
"To be, or not to be?" Act 3 Scene 1
VIEWS IN EACH RELIGION
added commandments in the Catechism in 1566
believes the commandments are more important than the sacraments
1. THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME
Hamlet's first soliloquy compares his father to Hyperion God
Hamlet follows the ghosts words
5. HONOUR THY FATHER AND MOTHER
6. THOU SHALT NOT KILL
7. THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY
9/10. THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOURS PROPERTY/WIFE
Garden of Eden
He focuses on his mother's ‘o'er-hasty marriage
“Fie on't ! O fie! ‘Tis an unweeded garden
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely.” (1.2.135-137)
Who is the Serpent?
The serpent that did sting thy father’s life/ Now wears his crown? (1.5.39-40)
Claudius, the poison wielding snake of a man, kills his brother, his king, in of all places, the garden. Gertrude is like Eve in the sense that through persuasion, she rebukes the words of her lover and inadvertently causes her own demise. Also the wooing and subsequent seduction of the grieving Gertrude by the contorting Claudius is the most direct plot point analogous to Eden in the entire play.
Cain and Abel
The story of Cain and Abel is an allusion to Claudius and King Hamlet. In the Cain and Abel story Cain killed Abel due to jealousy. In the play Hamlet Claudius kills King Hamlet in order to get the throne.
“O, my offence is rank it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse upon't,
A brother's murder.”
“Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard,
A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark
Is by a forgèd process of my death
Rankly abused. But know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father’s life
Now wears his crown.”(1.5. 35-40)
In summation, the actions of the characters were greatly impacted based on their perception of religion.Both religions played a central role in the plot, the characters, and themes.
To Believe or not to Believe...