Analysis Of Hamlet's Concern With Death In Hamlet

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Hamlet’s Concern with Death
In Hamlet’s first soliloquy (ll. 1.2.129-159), Shakespeare uses a biblical lexicon, apostrophes, and depictions of corporeal decay to show Hamlet’s preoccupation with the fate of a person after death. Throughout the passage, Shakespeare uses a biblical lexicon that demonstrates Hamlet’s anxiety about the consequences of actions and, more specifically, of death. Hamlet first references “the Euerlasting” (l. 1.2.131) in the third line of the soliloquy. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) tells us that “Euerlasting” refers to God, but we might ask ourselves, why “Euerlasting?” Why not some other word? By choosing the word “the Euerlasting” for Hamlet’s speech, Shakespeare highlights the permanence of one’s fate. This
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Hamlet says, “O God, O God” (l. 1.2.132), “Heauen and Earth” (l. 1.2.142), and finally, “O Heauen) (l. 1.2.150). Not only are these apostrophes part of the biblical lexicon employed throughout the passage, they also serve to depict Hamlet as calling out to God, in essence, praying. In this passage, the language does not suggest a prayer whose purpose is to praise God or to rejoice. Instead, the same language that suggests Hamlet’s preoccupation with the fate of the soul suggests that the prayer deals with a need for salvation. Interestingly, Shakespeare follows Hamlet’s first apostrophe addressing God with two sentences ending with question marks, both of which seem to be claims one would state, not ask: “How weary, stale, flat and vnprofitable / Seemes to me all the vses of this world? / Fie on’t?” (ll. 1.2.133-135). Similarly, a question also follows the second apostrophe: “Heauen and Earth / Must I remember: why she would hang on him, / As if encrease of Appetite had growne / By what is fed on; and yet within a month?” (ll. 1.2.142-145). The first question deals with the fate of the soul, specifically after “Selfe-slaughter” (l. 1.2.132), while the second deals with Hamlet’s own emotional fate, a fate in which he is forced to remember his mother’s
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