Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: Shakespeare's philosophy of life second essay - Thesis Example

Young Hamlet, who is watching the action, comes to comment on the skull, saying that he knew Yorick well, allowing himself to indulge for a moment in childhood reminiscence before he lapses back into the philosophical ruminations about the nature of life that are the primary subject of the play. …
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Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: Shakespeares philosophy of life second essay

Extract of sample Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: Shakespeare's philosophy of life second essay

The impermanence of material condition is one major consideration that drives Shakespeare to his view of life. Shakespeare’s graveside scene must be viewed through the symbolic importance of the remains of Yorick. By having Hamlet speak direct to the skull, telling him (in jest) to go to his lady and make her laugh and make her understanding the temporary nature of life, Shakespeare is pointing out that material conditions in the end do not matter. Neither does the application of make-up to enhance beauty nor the accumulation of goods to enhance wealth matter, once you are put in the grave. Yorick’s skull is found in a grave where other unknown skulls are found, showing that, despite his position in the court, he came to be buried among the unknown. In this Shakespeare indicates that after life is over, the relative wealth we accumulate does not matter. In death, we are all equal, Shakespeare suggests. Therefore what matters is what we do while we are alive.
But if this is so, then shouldn’t reputation, at least, matter? Shakespeare seems to indicate that it doesn’t much,in the end. By making an analogy between Yorick’s remains and the dust of Alexander the Great and Julius Ceasar, Shakespeare suggests that the dust of those great men may be fit to plug a beer barrel or patch a wall, but not much else. Read more
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