melancholy

MELANCHOLY AND DEATH

Since the beginning of the play Hamlet has been presented as a melancholic person; in fact, Claudius and Gertrude try to convince him to abandon his black clothes for the mourning of his father and to return to life accepting the present situation:“Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off, and let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark. Do not forever with thy vailed lids seek for thy noble father in the dust” (I.ii. 68/72).

But Hamlet refuses their advice and starts to keep himself to himself because he has been hit by the ghost’s words that have revealed Gertrude’s unfaithfulness and that Claudius is the old king’s murderer:”But know, thou noble youth, the serpent that did sting thy father’s life now wears his crown” (I.v. 37/39).

Because of this, Hamlet doesn’t accept the incestuous marriage between his mother and his uncle and he is in a situation of great responsibility because he should revenge his father but he is not sure at all: So he is very confused about what to do, life, love and women because of Ophelia, too, who has betrayed his love and confidence.

All of this makes Hamlet think of suicide and of reconsidering his vision of death. In Hamlet’s soliloquy (“To be or not to be“), which is one of the most important part of the tragedy, characterized by doubts and inaction, which reveals that Hamlet is not ignorant and incapable but conscious and powerless, death is seen by the prince of Denmark as a way to escape from the problems and discomforts of life or the consequences of a noble revenge:“…and by a sleep, to say we end the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to” (III.i. 61/63).

At the end of the play Hamlet dies after taking  vengeance against the people who have caused his in a noble way: “The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword” (III.i. 149).

In fact, before acting, Hamlet wants to be sure about the truth of the events so as to save his reputation which is more important than life for him: “If thou did’st ever hold me in thy heart, absent thee from felicity awhile, and in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain, to tell my story” (V.ii. 352/354).