Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Hamlet asks that this "too solid flesh would melt" and complains that everlasting had "fixed/his canon 'gainst self-slaughter." What is he contemplating doing?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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At the time when Hamlet was written, suicide was considered a grievous sin throughout the Christian world. In Shakespeare's England, the property of someone who killed themselves would automatically pass to the Crown. Also, the bodies of those who had committed suicide could not be buried in consecrated ground. For all his faults, Hamlet still retains enough of his Christian morality to realize that he cannot, in good conscience, commit suicide, no matter how much he might wish to. Instead, he wishes that he weren't made of solid flesh so that he could just melt away like snow. This way he wouldn't have to deal with all the problems that...

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