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It is the difference between seeing purgatory strictly in the terms of the sins that brought the souls there and that talking about purgatory is a way of asking for salvation from the same. It is two opposing ways of reviewing Ophelia’s suicide. Sin and salvation are present throughout the main conflicts of the play, so sin and salvation, in general, is the main dichotomy of the play.
Hamlet is about sin and salvation. One of Hamlet’s sin is his act of killing Polonius, which, in turn, led to Ophelia’s ultimate sin and presumptively usurped her chances for salvation. Hamlet kills Polonius in the Act 3, Scene 4, knowing full well what he was doing. He was in Gertrude’s suite, confronting her about how she could be with her own brother in law, when he heard Polonius’ cry from behind the tapestry. At this point, Hamlet plunges his dagger at the tapestry, pretending to kill a rat, but knowing that Polonius was behind the tapestry and was being murdered. This leads to Ophelia’s sin, in that Ophelia goes mad and kills herself because she was grieving for her father, and she was fragile in general. While non-religious people of today understand that suicide is not necessarily a sin, but, rather, a desperate act of a desperate person, this was not the case in the Elizabethan age, as suicide is considered to be the ultimate in sin.
That Ophelia’s suicide was considered to be sinful is evident in both the speeches of the gravedigger who was digging her grave, and the priest who was conducting her funeral. For instance, the gravedigger showed evident disdain for Ophelia for killing herself when he stated that “the more pity that great folk should have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselves more than their even Christian” (V, i, 24-27). In other words, Ophelia was rich, and allegedly had more freedom to drown herself than the ordinary Christians, implying that most Christians do not have this
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(Hamlet-Sin and Salvation Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 2000 Words - 1)
“Hamlet-Sin and Salvation Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 2000 Words - 1”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/english/1619833-hamlet-sin-and-salvation.
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