Hamlet Moral Conflict

420 Words2 Pages
Hamlet’s Moral Conflict: Is Suicide an Option? William’s Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is the home of the definitive example of an existential crisis. Throughout the play Hamlet has a constant battle with himself on whether or not suicide is an option for him. Despite his melancholy, one reason Hamlet could have decided against suicide was due to the belief that suicide was a moral sin against God. According to religious doctrine, suicides may not receive Christian burial. We see this take on Christianity mainly with the death of Ophelia as the gravediggers wondering whether Ophelia will receive a Christian burial. They question the notion with the statement “Is she to be buried in Christian burial when she willfully seeks her own salvation?” and conversant about the meaning of “self-defense” and “self-offence” (5.1.1-2). The reason that Ophelia was given a Christian burial was the fact that she came from a wealthy family with connections to the royal family of Denmark, not because it was thought that her suicide was not legitimate. The priest that was present at funeral even stated that “Her death was doubtful” and because of Claudius’ decrees she was given this burial (5.1.201-204). Even with the given privilege of a Christian burial, Ophelia’s funeral was rather quick as lackluster as the priest states that performing any sacred rites would “profane” the other dead souls that rest there (5.1.211). Laertes is angered by this statement and assures the priest that Ophelia will be a “ministering angel” while the priest “liest howling” (5.1.216-217). As this is taking place, Hamlet is silently observing the entire predicament. After realizing the death to be Ophelia, Hamlet is grief-stricken and outraged about what has just taken place. He then makes his own appearance known and reveals the agonized fury of his own love for Ophelia stating that no one’s
Open Document