Hamlet - to Be or Not to Be and Ophelia's Sucide

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Shakespeare’s revenge tragedy Hamlet, composed at the turn of the seventeenth century, is one of the best known and most quoted works of its time. Set in the Kingdom of Denmark, this piece is thematically concerned with the dramatic ideals of confrontation and resolution. Audiences throughout time have been exposed to the underlying themes of confrontation and resolution exercised by the tragic hero Hamlet himself, to reveal the dramatics of self-analysis. As modern audiences we endure this portrayed to the extent of frustration, mirroring the catharsis effect felt by Elizabethan audiences, as Hamlet questions his inner self, confronting his cowardice with divinely purpose on multiple occasions throughout the play. Hamlet questions whether to take action in avenging his father’s death or to commit suicide in his fourth soliloquy, located in the rising action of the dramatic structure of the play, seen particularly in the lines “puzzles the will/ And makes us rather bear those ills we have/ Than fly to others that we know not of?” Here, Shakespeare foreshadows the recurring theme of Hamlet’s inaction towards avenging his father’s death and uses rhetorical questions to aid in his self-analysis. This is such a controversial part of the play, as many believe that there is more to this speech then just the choice of revenge/suicide. One opinion on this soliloquy is that the contemplation of suicide accentuates the contemplation of what is and what isn’t. The indecision is highlighted within this soliloquy as Hamlet expects nothing less than a sacrifice, believing that he is condemned either way with his struggle of religious code vs honour code, therefore deeming both acts as sinful. This perspective clarifies that to be or not to be is not in fact about suicide but the overall uncertainty of thoughts and actions. However, through Trent Lorcher’s view, it is believed

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