Hamlet's Journey Through the Grieving Process in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

Hamlet's Journey Through the Grieving Process in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

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Grief is a painful emotion that people experience through troubling times in life, such as losing a loved one. Swiss psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kubler Ross, introduced the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, in the year of 1969. She explains that there is no correct way or time to grieve; the stages are used to familiarize people with the aspects of grief and grieving. Grief can over take someone’s life and lead to a negative downfall, such as Hamlet experiences in Hamlet, written by Williams Shakespeare. He undergoes a variety of barriers throughout the novel, such as his father is murdered, which leads to his downfall-death. Although Hamlet grieves, the denial stage is not present in the novel as it begins months after his father’s death. He does not fulfill the bargaining stage either. Ultimately, one can clearly see Hamlet fulfills the grieving process through the stages of Anger, depression, and acceptance.
Anger is a necessary stage of the healing process. It is important to feel anger, even though it may seem endless, because it allows emotions to be released instead of being trapped inside like a bottle waiting to explode. Hamlet undergoes this stage as his mother, Queen Gertrude, remarries immediately after his father’s death, King Hamlet. He states that “Within a month, ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears had left the flushing in her galled eyes, she married” (1.2.155-158). This quote exhibits Hamlet’s anger towards his mother because he does not believe she feels sad by his father’s death as he refers to her tears as ‘insincere’ and she remarries within a month. According to SAVE, “the circumstances surrounding the death are extremely important in determining how we are goi...


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... accepts his feelings towards Ophelia when she passes away. Lastly, Hamlet accepts that he will not be able to carry out the roots of being a king as he is dying. He says to Horatio, “I do prophesy th’ election lights/on Fortinbras; he has my dying voice” (5.2.380-381). Just as a person has a will testimony before they pass away, so to does Hamlet, as he desires Fortinbras to become King. One can see that Hamlet fulfills the last stage of the grief cycle, acceptance.
Through the death of Hamlet’s father, Shakespeare shows how one tragedy can lead to many stages of grief as well as the downfall of the character. Throughout the novel, Hamlet journeys through the grieving process in the stage of anger, depression, and acceptance. Elisabeth Kubler Ross states, “The purpose of life is more than these stages….it is not just about the life lost but also the life lived”

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