What did Hamlet think about death in Shakespeare's play, Hamlet?

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Hamlet is confused about death. He doesn't understand how death can be so distressing and personal, like the death of his own father, and so impersonal and meaningless, like the deaths of thousands of Fortinbras's soldiers over "a little patch of ground / That hath in it no profit but the name." (4.4.18-20)

HAMLET. Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducats
Will not debate the question of this straw.
This is the imposthume of much wealth and peace,
That inward breaks, and shows no cause without
Why the man dies. (4.4.26-30)

Hamlet questions what happens after death and comes to no conclusion.

HAMLET. For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause ...

Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death
The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 1235 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 6, 2020