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Shakespear's Hamlet: Death as a Tool

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Shakespeare's Hamlet: Death As A Tool

From its opening, Shakespeare's Hamlet displays death as a driving force. Death, being the problem and varied by each character as a solution, progresses in the play in bulk. The ghost of King Hamlet, Claudius, and Ophelia all use death as a solution for their own loss of love and power.

As a ghost, King Hamlet uses his deathly state to restore the proper organization of his kingdom. After being murdered by Claudius for the succession to the throne, King Hamlet comes from the land of the dead to communicate with his son and regain order in the palace of Elsinore. King Hamlet comes dressed in old battle armor as an apparition to communicate with his son: "I am thy 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," (1.4.13-17). The Ghost of Hamlet also uses his state to tell Hamlet to fix the broken kingdom of Elsinore: "If thou has nature in thee, bear it not,/ Let not the royal bed of Denmark be/ A couch for luxury and damned incest," (1.5.86-88). In order to fulfill his the orders of his father, Hamlet must exact a murder. The morbid act leads Hamlet to go against his pensive nature and his present affections in Ophelia. The two unwanted decisions result in Prince Hamlet falling into a psychological turmoil.

The acceptance of Prince Hamlet's mission has deathly implications for other characters. Enclosed in her feelings of heartbreak and depression, Ophelia commits suicide as a means to escape her feelings. Hamlet's sudden disinterest in Ophelia triggers her emotional instability. As Ophelia's depressed state becomes more clear to the other inhabitants of the kindom of Elsinore, King Claudius makes his notice of her emotions, he says: "Poor Ophelia/ Divided from herself and her fair judgment,/ Without the which we are pictures, or mere beasts," (Hamlet 4.5.86-880). With her father dead, Ophelia is left without protection and ultimately alone. The death of Polonius leaves deep scars upon the young woman's conscious. Some of the poems Ophelia sings, which are heavy in the images of death and sadness, express her feelings about Polonius' death. In her last melody before taking her life, Ophelia sings: "And he will not come again?/ And he will not come again?/ No, no, he is dead,/ Go to thy death-bed,/ He will never come again" (4.5.202-206). Prior to her suicide, Ophelia brings judgement in the flowers she brings to the people in the palace. The young woman begins with handing Rosemary and Pansy flowers to Laertes. While doing so, Ophelia explains the symbolic significance of the flowers, she says: "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance - pray/ you, love, remember. And there is pansies, that's for thoughts" (4.5.188-190). Following



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