I'm having difficulty creating the beginning of a paper that incorporates a quote of Hamlet's on suicide. Help?I am trying to find quotes to begin my paper, since I am most comfortable starting...

I'm having difficulty creating the beginning of a paper that incorporates a quote of Hamlet's on suicide. Help?

I am trying to find quotes to begin my paper, since I am most comfortable starting with them. However, every quote about suicide seems to be awkward in my introductory paragraph.

 

 

Asked on by sarahexxoh

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shakespeareguru's profile pic

shakespeareguru | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

You could begin with Hamlet's concluding point of view on life and death, the point of view at which he finally arrives at the end of the play.  His lines from Act V, scene ii:

There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow.  If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come.  The readiness is all.

There are traceable references to the New Testament in the above lines, and they are the words of a man who has found his peace with the potential moment of his death.  This Hamlet no longer either wishes to or wonders about taking his own life.  He accepts that this decision lies in other hands; his only job is to be ready for that moment whenever it should come.  Quite a different point of view from the guy who was torn between "[t]o be or not to be."

So you could begin with the end and have your paper jump from this point back to the beginning of the play for an investigation of how Hamlet got from "O that this too, too sullied flesh would melt/Thaw and resolve itself into a dew," in Act One to this all-accepting Act Five point of view.

Please follow the links below for more on the three moments in the play that I have made reference to above.  Good luck with your paper!

rienzi's profile pic

rienzi | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

Suicide in the play is quite threadbare and of no substance. There are so many more legitimate topics in the play. Suicide is first mentioned by Hamlet in his first soliloquy. But it is youthful hyperbole indicative of the emotional depth he is feeling having been dismissed by his mother and the new king. Hamlet also briefly touches the topic in his 2B soliloquy. But, there it is just an example of the frailty of life; how easily life can be lost. At the end of the play Horatio displayed his loyalty and lack of religious conviction by his willingness to die with Hamlet. Lastly, the churlish priest as the representative of a seeming uncaring and inflexible faith uses the mere suggestion of suicide to vilify Ophelia. The priest was wrong and should not be taken seriously.

Through these four references there is no common thread. Change your topic.

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