Homework Help

What is Hamlet's view of life, and how does it change throughout the play?I'm currently...

user profile pic

birdcut | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 11, 2008 at 6:38 PM via web

dislike 1 like
What is Hamlet's view of life, and how does it change throughout the play?

I'm currently writing a paper on Hamlet's view of only life (how I wish it was his view of life AND death), and I know that his view is very pessimistic/confused. However, that doesn't really give me pages to talk about, so I was hoping that there might be more to his view of life?

Thank you in advance!

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

lcassidy | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted January 12, 2009 at 10:02 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

At the beginning of the play, hamlet is very discouraged with life because his mother remarried so soon after his father's death.  He is very melancholy and no one quite knows the reason for his being depressed.

After his father's ghost appears to him, Hamlet becomes even more depressed because he know has the unbearable task of avenging his father's death by killing his uncle.  This is evident in his "to be, or not to be speech", where he contemplates suicide.  Once he realizes that dying and facing the unknown is far more terrifying than avenging his father's death, he changes his attitude somewhat.

When Hamlet finally realizes what must be done, he gives himself "pep talks" in order to motivate himself.  For example, when he says that he would speak daggers to his mother, but throw none.  He also devises "the mouse trap scene" to catch Polonius' guilt.  Although these are not quite effective, his attitude on life changes because he has a goal and a mission to accomplish.  

Near the end of the play, when he fights with Laertes, again, Hamlet demonstrates a will to live.  He has a deep desire to expose the king's offense against his father.  And, at the end of act five, he realizes his goal by killing the king.  Of course, in the process he also loses his life.

All in all, Hamlet is not a very happy character throughout the play.  Although he has moments where he is a little less depressed; he is never fully happy.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes