hamlets view on death





Hamlet is scared because he does not know what happens after you die. He is not afraid to die, but he will not kill himself because he is afraid that he will go to hell. In act 3 scene 3, Hamlet shows his belief in the bible by not killing his father while he is in prayer. He says,

HAMLET
“A villain kills my father; and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven”.

According to the bible, if you repent of your sins you will be forgiven and go to heaven when you die, Hamlet believes this and that is why he does not kill Claudius in this scene. Another reason he does not kill his Claudius based on the reason above, he will not give Claudius the glory of going to heaven when Claudius did not give his father the choice to repent of his sins before he was killed.
Hamlet’s belief in what happens after you die first came about after his father’s ghost tells him about his experience with dying before repenting of your sins. In act 1 scene 5, the ghost of Hamlet’s father says,

GHOST
“I am thy 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.”

“Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother\'s hand
Of life, of crown, of queen, at once dispatch\'d:
Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhousel\'d, disappointed, unanel\'d,
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head:
O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible!”

The line “Doom’d for a certain term to walk the night, and for the day confined to fast in fires” shows Hamlet that his father is neither in hell nor heaven, but in some kind of middle world, but still on the earth at night, maybe in hell in the day. This idea troubles Hamlet because now he knows that his father’s soul is not in peace. He also learns that the reason his father is in this place is because he was murdered before he could repent of his sins. Hamlet feels that he has some duty as the ghost’s son to revenge him in hopes that it will fulfill his father’s journey to heaven or hell, because the current state that he is in seems worse than either of those.

Hamlet may also think that Denmark is a place between heaven and hell as his father is in another place between heaven and hell. A quote from act 2 scene 2 shows this,



“HAMLET
Denmark\'s a prison.
ROSENCRANTZ
Then is the world one.
HAMLET
A goodly one; in which there are many confines,
wards and dungeons, Denmark being one o\' the worst.”

Here, Hamlet refers to Denmark as a prison, where he cannot escape. It seems as though he wants to get away from the new king and get out of being prince. Or he sees the world as a prison keeping him from reaching heaven, like some kind of other hell that is not purely hell nor heaven. But he ensures that the whole world isn’t a hellish prison, but you can infer from him saying Denmark is the worst prison, that it is the most hell-like place on earth in his mind.

The gravedigger scene in act 5 scene 1 shows the most about how Hamlet feels about death. Hamlet refers to the skulls he finds belonging to other people and their past lives.

HAMLET
“That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing once:
how the knave jowls it to the ground, as if it were
Cain\'s jaw-bone, that did the first murder! It
might be the pate of a politician, which this ass
now o\'er-reaches”
“Or of a courtier; which could say \'Good morrow,
sweet lord! How dost thou, good lord?”
There\'s another: why may not that be the skull of a
lawyer? Where be his quiddities now, his quillets,
his cases, his tenures, and his tricks?”
“This fellow might be
in\'s time a great buyer of land, with his statutes,
his recognizances, his fines, his double vouchers,
his recoveries: is this the fine of his fines, and
the recovery of his recoveries, to have his fine
pate full of fine dirt?”

Everyone was something during their life, and then they die, and their body returns to the earth. Hamlet’s attitude toward this is that, in