Critical Analysis Of The Rest Is Silence

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“The rest is silence” (5.2 Line 356), these are Hamlet’s final words, and yet, ironically, for over 400 years we have not been able to stop talking about him. What has given this character such an enduring power? We are intrigued by Hamlet as he is a real personality, not just an model or humour. Thus through his faults, inconsistencies and his examination of what it means to be human, we can see ourselves reflected in him. As 19th century critic A.C. Bradley stated, Hamlet is a “symbol of a tragic mystery inherent in human nature”; Hamlet characterises the human condition. Hamlet’s exploration of mortality is most notable in his Act 3, Scene 1 soliloquy. He asks what is the point of life, if we exist only to suffer “The heartache and the thousand natural shocks/ That flesh is heir to” (Lines 63- 64)? Why do we force ourselves to endure this when we could just end it all? It is fear, a paralysing fear of the unknown; “For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,/ When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,/ Must give us pause” (Lines 67 - 69). Hamlet’s first line in this soliloq...
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