Suicide: To Be Or Not To Be
“To be, or not to be, that is the question—” (III.i.PAGE NUMBER) All throughout William Shakespeare's famous tragic play “Hamlet,” suicide is a major internal conflict for many of the characters, especially Hamlet, the young prince of Denmark, who seems to be especially fascinated by death and the afterlife. Hamlet has a very difficult choice to make; life, or death. Religion, morality, and Hamlet’s fear of what occurs after death are all major contributors to his final decision.
Hamlet’s religious beliefs are a major contributing factor to his life altering choice between living his life and self-slaughter. Although Shakespeare never blunty says what exactly Hamlet's religion is, it is widely believed that Hamlet is affiliated with some form of catholicism, or christianity. This is thought because of the many religious references that are given throughout the play. The ideas of Hamlets religion are all brought to the readers attention by the ghost’s appearance, because no one knows where it came from, Heaven or Hell. Hamlet asks the ghost where it came from if it is “a spirit of health or goblin damned,” (CITE HERE) the reader then finds out that the ghost came from neither Heaven nor Hell, but Purgatory. The ghost says: ‘I am your father’s spirit,/ doom'd for a certain term to walk the night/ And for the day confined to fast in fires/ Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature/ Are burnt and purged away.” (CITE HERE) Purgatory, as defined by the Catholic Encyclopedia is a temporary place of punishment for those who have sinned and have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions. (CITE HERE) According to Catholic beliefs, suicide is a mortal sin, and if one willingly takes his or her own life, they will be damned to hell, for all of eternity, and will have no chance of salvation. (CITE HERE) Hamlet does not commit suicide, for fear of what will happen to him religiously if he were to kill himself....
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