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Hamlets Grief Essay

Grief In Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

According to Webster’s Desk Dictionary, grief is defined as “keen mental suffering over affection or loss” (397). Various characters in Hamlet choose to deal with grief in different ways, with many of their methods harmful in the end. Ophelia is dealt two setbacks during the course of the play, one being her father’s death and the other being Hamlet’s disrespectful treatment. Her brother Laertes must also deal with Polonius’s death, as well as Ophelia’s. From the beginning of the play, Hamlet grieves over his father’s murder. His grief is what sparks his quest for revengeand his battle to kill Claudius.

 Throughout the play, grief takes center stage in many of thecharacter’s lives, but they all choose to react in a different fashion. Grief takes many distinct shapes and forms and until people learn how to overcome it, it will remain an integral part of life.  One way to escape grief is to commit suicide, as Ophelia apparently does. Thegravedigger proclaims, “Is she to be buried in Christian burial that willfully seeks her own salvation” (Act V Scene I Lines 1-2). The gravedigger is wondering why a woman who has taken her own life deserves such a fancy funeral. When the Queen informs Laertes and Claudius  of Ophelia’s death, she says, “...she[Ophelia] chanted snatches of old tunes” (Act IV Scene VII Line 195). Ophelia did not know how to express her grief, other than in song. In Act IV, she sings of Polonius, “He is dead and gone, lady, he is dead and gone” (Scene V Lines 31-32).

Suicide AwarenessVoices of Education (SAVE) proclaims, “When a person faces his grief, allows his feelings to come, speaks of his grief...it is then that the focus is to move from death and dying and to promote life and living” (“When the Worst Has Happened” 2). Ophelia is not able tocome right out and speak of her difficulty dealing with death. She resorts to her singing. The Gentleman in Act IV says of Ophelia, “She speaks much of her father...speaks things in doubt, that carry half sense...” (Act IV Scene V Lines 5-8). She cannot come to an understanding of what is happening in her life. SAVE declares, “Not understanding the individuality of grief could complicate and delay whatever grief we might experience from our own loss” (“When the Worst Has Happened” 2). Ophelia does not deal with grief in a successful manner, nor does her brother. Laertes does not show his grief with tears, as does his sister, but he is a man of action. In Act V he exclaims, “...and therefore I forbid my tears” (Scene I Line 205). No two people will experience the same grief for the same amount of time or for the same intensity (“When the WorstHas Happened” 2). Laertes does not express much grief over the death of his father, but thereader knows he is in mourning by the way he wants to take action against Hamlet. He, with the help of Claudius, concocts an intricate plan to murder Hamlet in a fencing duel. “Anger is a form of energy,” according to...

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Grief is a painful emotion that people experience through troubling times in life, such as losing a loved one. Swiss psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kubler Ross, introduced the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, in the year of 1969. She explains that there is no correct way or time to grieve; the stages are used to familiarize people with the aspects of grief and grieving. Grief can over take someone’s life and lead to a negative downfall, such as Hamlet experiences in Hamlet, written by Williams Shakespeare. He undergoes a variety of barriers throughout the novel, such as his father is murdered, which leads to his downfall-death. Although Hamlet grieves, the denial stage is not present in the novel as it…show more content…

Hamlet also shows anger towards the female character, Ophelia as they interact with each other on a daily basis. He tells her that he has “heard of [her] paintings too, well enough; God hath given [her] one face, and [she] make[s] [herself] another. [She] jig[s] and amble[s], and [she] lisp[s], and nickname[s] God’s creature, and make[s] [her] wantonness [her] ignorance…to a nunnery, go” (3.1.153-157,161). As a result of this quote, Hamlet demonstrates strong anger as he insults Ophelia for her cosmetics and tells her that her flirtatious affections is her excuse for her stupid behaviour. Not only does Hamlet insult her because of his anger, but she does not defend herself either, which makes the situation worse. In addition, Hamlet not only undergoes his father’s death, but no one seems to grief over the death which is surprising, as he was the King of Denmark. The new King, Claudius asks Hamlet, “How is it that the clouds still hang on you?” (1.2.67). This quote shows King Claudius’ lack of grief towards King Hamlet’s death, oppose to when Polonius dies, he immediately tells Laertes, Polonius’ son, “I must commune with your grief” (4.5.213), Which again leads for Hamlet through the anger stage. The next stage of grief leads to the stage of depression, which Hamlet successfully

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