Hamlet Grieving His Father’s Death in Hamlet by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, is a tragedy that is set back in the Kingdom of Denmark. The play begins with the tragic death of the king of Denmark, King Hamlet. The King, who is Hamlets father and Claudius’ brother, is murdered. At the start of the play Hamlet, his family, and close friends are beginning each of their grieving processes at the King’s funeral. This will soon bring in a domino effect of unfortunate events.
Soon Hamlet discovers that his uncle, Claudius, is the one to blame for his father’s death when he encounters his father’s spirit at the castle one night. King Hamlet’s spirit tells Hamlet to avenge him by killing the man who took his life. In Hamlet and the Evolving Code of Honor, Terry explains that “Hamlet is the only son if a” (Terry 1081) murdered king. As such he, in medieval terms, is honor-bound to avenge his father’s death. Knowing that Claudius was responsible brings Hamlet to such rage, and such fury that he soon becomes engulfed with his plan for revenge.
From the moment the play begins you can detect Hamlet struggling with dealing with his father’s death. You can sense that he’s full of sorrow but also full of wrath and anger. He deeply grieves during the time after his father’s death. In Hamlets Grief, Kirsch mentions that “the note of grief is sounded by hamlet in his first words in the play, before he ever sees the ghost, in his opening dialogue with the king and his mother.” (Kirsch 18)
““Seems,” madam? Nay, it is. I know not “seems.” / 'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,/ Nor customary suits of solemn black, / Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,/ No, nor the fruitful river in the eye, / Nor the dejected 'havior of the visage,/ Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief, / That can denote me truly. These indeed “seem,” / For they are actions that a man might play. / But I have that within which passeth show, / These but the trappings and the suits of woe.” (Shakespeare page number?? In lit book)
Hamlet expresses his grief and the great amount of sorrow he has mourning over his father’s death throughout the entire play. The way he goes through his grief is unlike anyone else’s in the play. Most people would typically go through the five stages of grief after an event like this. Hamlet doesn’t exactly go through all of them, or go through them in the correct order, but I believe hamlet goes through most of them and in the end reaches acceptace.
There are typically five steps or phases that people go through to cope with the loss of a loved one- denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I feel that Hamlet does not go through all of these phases of grief, but I do believe that he goes through most of them in some way shape or form. And although he may not have gone through them in order or one at a time, I feel that he went through the phases that he needed to go through in order to fully grieve over his father’s death.
Hamlet doesn’t really show us the phase of denial from where the play begins. I feel that he most definitely expresses anger throughout the entire play; this stage of grief is ever-present and takes the most dominant role during the play. The anger Hamlet has over the passing of his father tends to be the driving force behind most of his actions. The third phase, bargaining, is also not really expressed by Hamlet either. If he were to bargain with someone it would have been with a higher power (God), in which he probably would have been trying to ask for more time with his father or trying to come up with a way to avoid the reality of his father’s death. There isn’t an exact point during the play in which Hamlet begins the stage of depression, which is the fourth phase of grief. I believe that he is in a constant state of remorse or sorrow after hearing the news of his father’s death. The last phase of grief is acceptance. I think that Hamlet doesn’t