Friday, October 11, 2019

In this play, suicide is an act forbidden by religion Essay

â€Å"To be, or not to be† cries a torn Hamlet in Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet. This is not the first time that Hamlet reflects upon his existence and thinks about committing suicide. In this play, suicide is an act forbidden by religion and society that one may take into consideration only after stricken with unbearable grief. In Hamlet’s case, he is stuck between living a horrible life that may not seem worth living, and taking his own life to end the cruelty of it, which he claims he would if God had not made it forbidden. Subsequently, Hamlet fuels his fire to live and not follow the path of suicide by remembering his duty as a person, which for him is to avenge his murdered father before it is too late. Before we can understand Hamlet’s popular predicament to be or not to be as a whole, we must make sure that we define the concepts that are key in his situation to place ourselves in Hamlet’s depressing shoes. For one, suicide is a broad, varying act that has different meanings to different people in different times. For the people of Hamlet’s setting, it was an atrocious, intentional act that only the horrid sinners would commit against the almighty Biblical God. Even after death, the people still looked down upon the dead that did not pass naturally into the afterlife by holding a funeral that only genocidal dictator would be worthy of; one that involved throwing rubble into the pit of the dead instead of pious flowers and ornaments. Also, though, what must be considered is the situation a person might be in. For example, if you live a life that involves lying in a dreadful hospital bed with very little consciousness and no sense of elation, one might argue, from a Christian viewpoint, that it is not immoral to kill yourself. Whether or not someone believes in a supreme being, one generally has morals. Morals are a set of rules or schemas that people follow and live by which they create, edit, and alter throughout their lives. In Hamlet, we see that almost everyone holds a heavy, negative view against suicide. The play leads us to think that suicide is something that is unnatural and undeniably immoral. When Ophelia dies, many people believed it was suicide, while others assumed it was an accidental death (Act IV, scene vii). Depending upon which side they took, their culminating feelings towards Ophelia was created based on their initial assumptions. The gravediggers or clowns that spoke during Ophelia’s funeral procession question whether she will receive a proper, Christian burial, or if she will be treated like a bag of bones and skin, essentially, and be buried in an unfavorable fashion. Though the situation pointed towards suicide, Ophelia received a funeral that was Christianesque mainly because of her royal blood (Act V, scene i). This specific example from the play shows us how immoral suicide, to the people of the play, really was. Where do the roots of morals lie? The answer exists in religion. The characters of Hamlet all consider religion and the laws of it to be of utmost importance. In Hamlet, Christianity is the only religion mentioned and is followed by practically everyone. Considering most people were very religious, we can infer that they followed the rules very closely and criticized those that did not, even if it was they. In one of Hamlet’s soliloquies, we learn that one of the few things preventing Hamlet from ending his miserable life is the commandment of God. â€Å"Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter!† If it were not against the will of God, Hamlet would have considered suicide even more and maybe even committed the treacherous act. Christianity condemns suicide (Act I, scene ii). The people of the play follow Christianity rigorously. Therefore, the people of the play look down upon suicide mainly because of their religious views.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.