Christian Concepts of life, death, and afterlife in Hamlet.
Life: We are born solely for the purpose to come to know God and you cannot perceive life from any perspective other than your own. When you trust God enough to put all of your faith in him you allow yourself devine happiness, peace of mind and a sense of relief. Surpassing any negativity, distress and sadness life may bring including the fear of death. The Christian concept of life also requires full alert attention to avoid committing any of the Seven Deadly sins, including envy, wrath, and lust. In Hamlet, each character lives life with different intentions, that tend to change throughout the play. Hamlet revolves around evil when the audience is faced with the initial act that Claudius murdered Old Hamlet; and the seven deadly sins are present throughout the play. Claudius’ desire for his brother’s life ties directly into his sins of envy, the desires of wanting what someone else has whether it be status, abilities or possessions.
King Claudius strived for his brothers position on the throne, his wife and life overall, and exclaims: Since I am still possessedOf those effects for which I did the murder:My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen. (3.3.
54-56)Those who can no longer be selfish and direct their thoughts towards benefiting and loving the people in their lives become familiar with their overall life purpose and enjoy life beyond what words can explain. Life’s meaning isn’t recognized in receiving, but is found in giving. Other sins against Christian faith are present throughout the play, Queen Gertrude has an ongoing lust for power and remarries into the kingdom after her husband’s death to remain Queen. She does not want to affiliate herself with weakness and wants to remain dominant in the kingdom no matter the circumstances, she may also not have wanted to be a widow.
If the Queen did not remarry into the kingdom she may have ultimately been much happier; properly mourning the death of someone important to her and eventually flourishing as an independent woman, possibly avoiding her ultimate downfall. As opposed to following sin by pushing away the past almost as if her husband’s death did not occur and longing for more power. Hamlet displays the sin of lust, a powerful craving for sex, power, and/or money. He refers to a sexual fantasy with Ophelia when he says “That’s a fair thought to lie between maids’ legs.” (3.
2.108).His desire for lust pressures Ophelia and she remains in a conflict with herself on whether or not to save sexual activities before marriage, as recommended in the Holy Bible. Overall, Many Christian concepts of life are present in Hamlet, such as our duties to refrain from committing the seven deadly sins. Consequences of sin in most severe cases is death. People who give themselves over to sin are likely followed by darkness and have a craving for more. They become further away from God, making it difficult to come to know the meaning of life. Many fail to recognize the simplest fact of all, anyone can seek serenity and overall relief just by placing all faith in God.
Continuously being reminded that we should treat others with the same lawful respect we would like to receive in life. In fact, one can not simply be satisfied in trying to only make ourselves happy. Selfishness leave anyone rather unsatisfied and with continuous thoughts of seeking even more power, pleasure, money, status in the attempt to find satisfaction and overall joy as we recognize throughout Hamlet.Death: In Christian faith, death is not necessarily dying; One’s physical body no longer functions, however, we are introduced to eternal life in which is when a person’s soul leave one’s body and goes hand in hand with God in heaven. If one has lived a virtuous life, they are declared the ultimate gift, resurrecting to place of peace, tranquility, and forgiveness. However, if one declares a life full of extreme evil and sin, going against the words of God without regret, their souls will leave their body at death and descend into Hell.
In Hamlet, Queen Gertrude exposes herself to the sin of gluttony, an excessive appetite for something, not always food or drink. The Queen’s rapid decision to marry into the Kingdom shorty after her husband’s death expresses her strong appetite for power. Which, soon progresses into lust for Claudius as Hamlet says: Must I remember? Why, she would hang on him As if increase of appetite had grown By what it fed on, and yet within a month -Let me not think on’t. Frailty thy name is woman (1.2.
143-146)Queen Gertrude, ironically dies of a poisoned drink. This death is ironic because she dies at the hand of Claudius, as the drink was intentionally for him, and gluttony can also be the over excessive indulgence of drinking. No one sin is worse than another, but the consequence if one does not feel sincere regret for going against Christianity is, in most extreme cases, death. If the Queen feels no remorse for the evil she has inflicted upon herself and others in life at her time of death, she will go to hell.
Unfortunately, it is it is possible to suddenly, or with time show no care for God’s forgiveness. Without remorse, forgiveness cannot be granted, in which one is at risk of an unforgivable sin. This becomes possible when a person turns their cheek to God, usually out of anger or disappointment. The Christian concept of death also occurs in Hamlet through Ophelia.
It is not certain exactly how she died, but most likely suicide due to the fact the church could not allow her a funeral because she took her life. She shows conflicts with many characters in the play, including herself. Ophelia’s life consists of manipulation and pressure to living her life a different way then she might want to, by those around her. With an ongoing battle of what she should and should not do, Ophelia’s drowning proposes that she might have been suffering enough to want to end it all.
Taking final control of her life in her death as she exclaims:O, woe is me; To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!’ (3.1.161-162)Ophelia drowns in a river, which can symbolize the first act of coming to know God, Baptism. If she felt a sense of relief and happiness with her life at the time of death than it might have all been worth it.
A difficult situation or a failed relationship, in Ophelia’s case, leads to unhappiness that won’t go away and what feels like an eternity of misery. Through the pain and suffering others may have caused her, God reminds us that at the end of it all we only have ourselves. In Christianity, suicide is considered to be a mortal sin.
Your life is a gift from God and to destroy it goes against all he has done to create it. Coming to know Jesus Christ in life takes time, but brings overall positivity in which one can get through each day knowing everything happens for a reason. Although, it is sometimes not that easy. If Ophelia tries to find meaning in her life but fails, God may seek forgiveness in her afterlife. However, if she simply quit trying to find a soul purpose because she could not find happiness with herself and others, she has gone against Christianity.