To choose to live or die. That is the question. To be or not to be...Shakespeare’s words resonate with all as they dramatise the metaphysical confusion and changing conceptions of mortality and afterlife in Elizabethan England through Hamlet’s murder driven plot and revenge tragedy.
Perverse occurrence have depleted hamlets existential purpose where his fathers death triggered his memory,” O, that this too too solid flesh would melt’, revealing his disposition with lives misfortunes. This existential crisis is central to hamlets famous soliloquy where the employment of an infinitive ‘to be or not to be - that is the question’ and utilising collective pronoun such as ‘we’ and ‘us’ mimics Hamlets dilemma of suicidedelineating two courses of action through the metaphor ‘ To suffer .. the slings and arrow of outrageous fortune or ‘ to take arm against a sea of trouble’and end his life.
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However, Hamlets fear of death, “conscience does make coward of us all”,indicates an aversion to the possibility of afterlife being more troublesome than his earthly sufferings, incentives him to choose life over death because of its familiarity.
In addition, Shakespeare utilises Yorks skull as a protruding symbol of mortality, ‘To what base use we may return’, which highlighted the inescapable disintegration of a person, triggering Hamlets cynical questioning of the purpose of living if life is fleeting.
The historical allusion to ‘ imperious Caesar, dead and turn’d toclay’ and anaphora in ‘Alexander died,alexander was buries, Alexandra was returned to dust’ creates a sense of pessimism and portrays how death is great leveller and how important things are insignificant
As a result, Hamlet develops a more mature outlook on death, No longer fearing it but seeing it as a natural inevitability, ‘ Let be” where R.Galita proposes that hamlet finally ‘ resigns himself to death’.
Thus Shakespeare explores the mysteriousness of death on hamlets eschatological evolution of mortality and suicide, a concern common to all humanity.