| Shakespeare’s Hamlet Essay
As I was going through Hamlet one final time before wring this paper, I realized how rich Shakespeare really was for contemplating the great unknowns- death, revelations and hell- which are topics atheism often address. Indeed, Hamlet is a play more inclined to asking questions than getting answers- making the play acceptable in an atheist society and proving a rich experience to those inclined towards doubt than certainty._x000D_
Religion does play a significant role in Hamlet. One attention-grabbing development of Hamlet is his steady ‘realization’ that his intentions of seeking retribution are ‘divine’ (Lawall & Mack 700). In Act 5 Scene 2, Hamlet talks to Horatio of a spirituality that shapes their ends. I believe this is a very important statement-we have encountered six of his soliloquies by this point, each of which deal with the question of intellect and the choices it provides. Here, it seems as if the only way that Hamlet can convince himself to going through the revenge is by placing his actions before a higher power. _x000D_
It is also important to consider Hamlet’s famous monologue on suicide. In this speech, Hamlet hypothesizes the possibility of hell as the prime reason to refrain from “self-slaughter.” However, he considers hell as a possibility and not a certainty. Moreover, Hamlet ponders that the possibility of eternal damnation makes cowards of us all. The question of freewill is raised and whether religion really contributes to freewill. Is suicide inherently immortal or anti-religious, or does it depend on a deity that punishes human beings for suicide? Nonetheless, “to be or not to be” is a question still being asked in this most famous of soliloquies. But one answer that is clear is that religion plays the major role of providing a form of conscience to Hamlet to assess the consequences of the actions he intends to execute._x000D_
Generally speaking, Hamlet can be construed in a multiple of ways. Part of the greatness of the play is that religion is a primary factor in the societal thinking. Additionally, it shows that the play also offers something to the skeptical theorist as well- it addresses humans’ struggles and doubts with the certainty of death and uncertainty of life. To some degree, atheism can exist in this setting; however, religion is a significant element in Hamlet.
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