Hamlet’s different perspectives of death Death is perceived as different things according to different people. In William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet,” the title character, Hamlet openly expresses his opinion of death through the various acts he commits and the things he says. The play follows the life of Prince Hamlet after his father’s death. Throughout the play, Hamlet devotes himself to avenging his father’s death and killing his ignoble uncle, but because he is very contemplative and fastidious, he delays his plan and falls into a sort of depression and madness.
Hamlet openly shows a diverse opinion on what he believes death is. Hamlet believes death to be a sort of black hole that ends with nothingness; however he also believes that death is something to mourn and be saddened about. Throughout the play, Hamlet shows his value of death through his reactions to a couple of the character’s deaths. Early on, Hamlet shows his disappointment of death with his reaction to his father’s death.
Initially, he expresses his state when he speaks to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and says “I have of late—but wherefore I know not—lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed it goes heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory” (2. 2. 295-299). Hamlet has found no joy or happiness in his world now that his father is gone. He finds the world to be an empty place to live in. His reaction toward his father’s death symbolizes his respect he has towards death.
Hamlet also reacts the same way with Ophelia’s death. As soon as Hamlet finds out about Ophelia’s death he argues with Laertes claiming “forty thousand brothers could not, with all their quantity of love, make up my sum” (5. 1. 254–256). Hamlet shows his sadness at the event of those lamentable deaths. Ultimately, Hamlet shows how he thinks death is an unfortunate event when his loved ones die. Although Hamlet shows remorse for the death of his loved ones, he shows no apparent care for the death of others.
Hamlet seems to be indifferent to the deaths of Laertes, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and King Claudius. Hamlet is not moved by the deaths of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Hamlet is actually the one who alters King Claudius’ letter to England and orders Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to die. It is not until Act 5, Scene II, that an ambassador visits Denmark and declares “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. ” Hamlet shows no apparent despair for their deaths because he believes they deserved to die since their intentions for visiting Denmark were malice.
Death, to Hamlet, is not a coincidence, but rather a consequence. He feels that the deaths of some characters are consequences of their actions. Hamlet dedicates his time to killing his uncle because he murdered his father. He believes King Claudius was anything but benign about murdering his father. Hamlet thought that since the offenders, in his case, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, along with King Claudius, did something terrible, he thought that would abate the guilt of killing them.
Ultimately, Hamlet believed he was being candor to himself along with everyone else. He showed no ulterior motives to his murders but the fact that they were well deserved. Hamlet’s efficacy to stay true to his belief that the people he killed deserved was ultimately derived from his thought that he was right in doing so. However, he believed otherwise when he experienced deaths of loved ones. Hamlet believed that death did not discriminate and came to, not only those who deserved it, but also to those who were not daunted it.