Critical Analysis Of Hamlet Essay Research Paper

Critical Analysis Of Hamlet Essay, Research Paper


What is mans’ purpose in life? Is there a purpose? If there isn’t, then is it wise to end it,

despite the fact that there might be nothing better? In Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, Hamlet

struggles with these and other issues. He states that the question of life is “To be, or not to be…?” Is

existence really worth the troubles of life? In this monologue, Hamlet is wondering what is his

purpose. He asserts that the only reason people endure their horrible lives is the uncertainty of what

lies after death. “Who would fardels bear, to grunt and sweat under a weary life, but that the dread

of something after death…” Is it noble to suffer, and is life worth all its misery? Hamlet must

question himself to discover the answers.

At the point in Hamlet when this famous soliloquy takes place, Hamlet has many reasons to

be questioning his existence. Hamlet is visited by the ghost of his late father, who explains that he

was murdered by Hamlet’s uncle, who is Hamlet’s mother’s new husband. His father cannot rest

until Hamlet has gotten revenge. Hamlet’s father has just been murdered, his friends are sent to spy

on him, his lover is forbidden to see him, and Hamlet feels that his life is pointless and miserable.

“The pangs of disprized love, the law’s delay, the insolence of office, and the spurns that patient merit

of the unworthy takes…” These are the miseries that Hamlet must endure. This is why he makes this

speech to himself, almost as if he is convincing himself that there are reasons to stay living. Most

everyone in Hamlet is leading a horrible life. Hamlet’s mother has just lost a husband, his uncle is

worried and guilt-stricken over the terrible crime he committed of murdering his brother, and

Ophelia, Hamlet’s lover, is miserable because her half-witted father has forbidden her to see Hamlet.

This soliloquy pertanes not only to Hamlet, but to virtually all the characters in the play. All the

characters are “bear[ing] the whips and scorns” of their piteous lives.

The monologue is not only relevant to the characters in Hamlet, but to all people. Many

people feel at some point that their lives are not worth living . They may question if life has a

purpose, and whether or not they are serving that purpose. It is quite easy to relate to Hamlet’s

feelings of woe and uncertainty. This is what makes Hamlet timeless. No matter what century,

country, or person, everyone has experienced to some degree what Hamlet endured. Perhaps

someone has just lost a father, or undergone a divorce. They could relate to Hamlet’s misery. They

may not contemplate suicide, as is what is sometimes believed about Hamlet, but they do have

questions about life, and the afterlife. Shakespeare uses Hamlet’s feelings to express his own, as

well as those of all people. Because of this, Hamlet has become a classic.

Hamlet’s character represents people in all circumstances. He questions everything, and has

experienced love, hate, betrayal, depression, grief, and anger. He is sometimes used to represent

the Biblical view of life, to “turn the other cheek” in situations when he would like to get revenge. As

Hazlitt states, “It is we who are Hamlet.” Everyone has undergone the struggle to decide whether

turning the other cheek would be best, whether their life is really worth all its troubles, and what

happens after death. The reoccuring themes of revenge, death, and right and wrong, can relate to

anyone. People experience these things every day. Because Hamlet represents everyone, the

soliloquy in which he questions his life has become extremely famous. “To be, or not to be, that is

the question…” This single line in poetry has been immortalized because, in fact, that is the question.

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