Meaning of Death in William Shakespeare`s Plays

One thing about literature, is that there are always ideas and theories about the world that can be elaborated on. Most will think of death, especially a playwright named William Shakespeare. Shakespeare, amongst others, was very infatuated with the idea of death. To them, death was the most mysterious entirety in the world. This idea is juggled tremendously in Shakespeare’s legendary play, Hamlet. Death is written to have the presence of a person, rather than a feeling or an event.

There’s a very grim-like, domino effect in the setting and plot of Hamlet. The characters seem to share the experiences that the loss of life can bring. Though death is a common theme, it can be expanded on in many ways within the different perspectives of characters of one play. According to Shakespeare, death should be views as a parallel to life, one cannot exists without the will of the other.

As aforementioned, the personal intent to emphasize death is what brings these stories to life.

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In Shakespeare’s piece Hamlet, morality makes itself known as a guest without a welcome that in no way cares to depart, from the beginning scene with the ominous ghost to the bloodbath of the very last scene. Death is spread amongst the characters in the play as if it is some sort of disease. It’s like a domino effect as one watches the suffering of the characters. However, there should be some further, deeper meaning, and cause to which Death is made so apparent within the play (physically and spiritually) from its beginning.

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This more profound perspective and investigation of mortality is manifested through the thoughts of Hamlet to which the audience follows throughout the play.“O, that this too too solid flesh would melt/ Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d/ His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!” (Shakespeare, Hanlet). Hamlet already knew that loss of life is inevitable but he has reached a grueling point in his life where he just comes to accept it and sees that it is beyond unnecessary to keep living in fear and desperation in hopes to avoid the inevitable. The query of his personal death plagues Hamlet as properly, as he again and again contemplates whether or not or not suicide is a morally valid motion in an unbearably painful world. Hamlet’s destitution is so far spread that he even begs for death but cannot succumb to the trembling thoughts of suicide.

. In different words, he concludes this is all is controlled with the aid of destiny, and the possibility of him transitioning now or later is irrelevant. Hamlet believes that no matter what, you have what you have coming to you. In his perspective, if destiny wills it, it is futile to avoid your fate. Hamlet isn’t cynical in his speech, but speaks of loss of life in a tone that is neither full of worry or longing. He comes to term with death as a part of the natural cycle of existence. There is a faith that one cannot co exist without the other.

Shakespeare and Most of his followers are no strangers to the theory death; at least when it comes to writing about it. In fact, most of their works are surrounding this idea. Shakespeare’s other works such as Romeo Of Juliet and The Casket of Amontillado both explore deadly tragedies to the fullest extent. The times that Shakespeare grew up in is the reason for his infatuation with death, and why it was transferring so well in his plays. “It’s important to remember that Shakespeare lived and worked in a historical era where death was more apparent than it is today. Infant mortality was higher. Old age came earlier. Untreatable diseases were more prevalent. Capital punishment was accepted as judicious. Death is always a serious issue, but Elizabethans encountered death with greater regularity than today’s Westerners, living as we do with a higher degree of safety standards and civil protection.” (Raymond, Litcharts.com)

Shakespeare is known as one of the most prominent; if not the most prominent, playwright ever. His theories surrounding death have been bringing his followers many new perspectives and ideas ever since he started. Hamlet, the play itself, is the personification of death. As it is the main idea explored, it shows what losing your life can not only do you, but, those around us as well. His ways of making characters fantasize and drive themselves insane over the idea of death can easily be resonated with by anybody in the world. The theme of Mortality should be discussed a lot more in the stories in which we read today.

Shakespeare was a firm believer in death being unavoidable, and inconsequential.. His character Hamlet seems to have a direct copy of his perspective on death. ‘Thou know’st ’tis common; all that lives must die, Passing through nature to eternity.'( Shakespeare, verywellhealth.com) Shakespeare was a product of old England, where the mortality rates were at the highest they’ve ever been. I can never fathom how odd it is that the theme of death can bring these two unfortunate writer so close in terms of their content. Hamlet’s constant questioning of death and life is what I suppose makes it one of Shakespeare’s most sought out pieces of work. While the loss of life is present in a lot of them, and especially in Macbeth, a play that is regularly in comparison to Hamlet, none of them question what losing your life really consists of. Macbeth is a play filled with blood, but it mostly attempts at indicating what death and murder do to change human beings. In a number of the other plays, inclusive of Othello and Romeo & Juliet, dying is the result of many reactions, but it’s far certainly a theory that could never be fully explained. In Hamlet, the query of what the lloss of life is and what occurs beyond loss of life are introduced up constantly.

  • Shakespeare, W., & Rylands, G. (1993). Hamlet. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Death in Shakespeare: How Characters Died in Shakespeare’s Tragedies. (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2020, from https://www.litcharts.com/blog/shakespeare/death-shakespeare-characters-died-shakespeares-tragedies/
  • Raymond, C. (2020, February 22). Collection of Shakespeare Quotes on Grief, Loss, Mortality, and Death. Retrieved May 14, 2020, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/words-of-inspiration-shakespeare-1132592

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Meaning of Death in William Shakespeare`s Plays. (2021, Oct 05). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/meaning-of-death-in-william-shakespeares-plays-essay

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