Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What is the importance of death in Hamlet and the graveyard scene?

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First, we see that even in death there are lies. Ophelia did not die in a "Christian" manner. She cut her own life short, but because of her status she is allowed a Christian burial. The gravedigger says it best when he says,

Why, there thou sayst. And the more pity that great folk should have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselves more than their even Christian.

Only the gravediggers, however, acknowledge this discrepancy. Hamlet and Laertes argue over who loves her more and even go as far as to wrestle with each other over her grave.

Next, we see the flippancy with which death is treated. Shakespeare used his gravedigger character for comic relief and in doing so also pointed out the irreverence with which death was treated. Hamlet points out this behavior when he talks about how the gravedigger is treating the skulls saying,

That skull had a tongue in it and could sing once. How the knave jowls it to the ground, as if it were Cain’s jawbone, that...

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