Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Explain Claudius' comments to Hamlet regarding his father's death. What advice is given?

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Claudius is trying to persuade Hamlet to look at the bigger picture of his father's death and be reasonable about it. He doesn't like Hamlet continuing to wear black for mourning and moping around court miserably. Claudius says:

Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted color off,
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
Do not forever with thy vailèd lids
Seek for thy noble father in the dust.
Thou know’st ’tis common. All that lives must die ...
When Claudius says "look like a friend on Denmark," he means that it is unfriendly to Claudius, who as king represents Denmark, for Hamlet to be so depressed about his late father. Claudius continues by saying, urging Hamlet to take a step back, that everyone must die. He returns to that theme in a speech a few minutes later, saying, essentially, that death is part of the life cycle: Hamlet's father died, and his father before him, and his father before him. Claudius tells Hamlet he simply should accept that reality and stop grieving.
As we know, or...

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