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I would certainly agree with the statement that the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare is relevant to a modern day

audience. The play contains various themes which still appear in modern life, such as the themes of death and particularly suicide, corruption in society, family relationships and peoples struggle with morality. People still die to this day by different means. Death is one of the leading themes in Hamlet and many of the main characters, including the title character himself, die in the play. One main part in the theme of death in this play is suicide, and peoples views on the subject. In the play, it was believed by many that Polonius only daughter Ophelia had taken her own life when she drowned in a river, after her world was torn apart because of her fathers murder. The gravediggers in Act 5, Scene 1 harshly claim that: If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o' Christian burial. In todays society, suicide is still an unfortunate issue, just like in Hamlet. There is also often a reproach to suicide today, much like in Shakespeares play. A second example of this would be when Hamlet asks Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles. To this day, what becomes of us in the afterlife is still a mystery, much like in Hamlet. In his most famous soliloquy, Hamlet himself wonders about life after death. To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles. (Act 3, Scene 1). In the end, Hamlet concludes that to him, death would be desirable if he knew what occurs beyond life in the undiscover'd country. In modern society there is also a lot of corruption, such as political corruption. This could be compared to the corruption in Hamlet. Perhaps the most notable example of corruption in the play is the character of Claudius. Claudius murdered his own brother, King Hamlet, by poisoning him to become king. He shows little remorse for this act as he received My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen. (Act 3, Scene 4) Corruption at its finest. Claudius also used his manipulative streak as a means of corruption, for example when he used Laertes anger at Polonius death to his advantage and turned Laertes anger at him towards Hamlet. (It warms the very sickness in my heart, that I shall live and tell him to his teeth, Thus didest thou. Act 4, Scene 7) Through this Claudius corrupted Laertes and helped concoct a plan to end Hamlets threat to his crown.

Today there is a lot of varying relationships between families, as in Hamlet. Not one family relationship is the same. There is Hamlets revulsion to his mother Gertrude and father-in-law Claudius relationship, and the contrast between the loving relationship between Laertes and his sister Ophelia, among others. We can see Hamlets revulsion to Gertrude and Claudius throughout the play, such as when he expressed his disgust towards their oer hasty marriage, claiming: The funeral bak'd meats did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables. (Act 1, Scene 2). From the beginning of the play, Hamlets revulsion is clear when he refers to Claudius as A little more than kin and less than kind. (Act 1, Scene 2) Hamlet also claimed that their relationship was incestuous. This is in contrast to the loving relationship we see with the likes of Laertes and Ophelia. The two siblings care deeply about each other, such as when Ophelia tells Laertes to wreck not [his] own rede in reply to his advice to her regarding Hamlets displays of affection. The love in their relationship can be seen especially after Laertes returns from France in an act of vengeance and is deeply concerned for Ophelias welfare after she appears before him in a deluded state. (Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia, and therefore I forbid my tears. Act 4, Scene 7) In modern times people struggle with right and wrongdoing, much like in Hamlet. The struggle with right and wrongdoing is a greatly recurring theme in Hamlet. We see it in Hamlets continuous procrastination, we see it in Gertrude and even in the likes of the smiling, damned villain Claudius. For Hamlet, making the decision whether or whether to not kill Claudius in revenge for his fathers murder was Hamlets greatest struggle throughout the play, in my opinion. This struggle causes Hamlet to procrastinate on many occasions. A notable example of this procrastination would be when he sees Claudius praying alone in a courtyard. Previous to this scene, Hamlet had proven Claudius guilty of murdering King Hamlet due to his panicstricken reaction to a play of The Murder of Gonzago. Hamlet is given a perfect opportunity to end Claudius life, but procrastinates and doesnt do so, asking: Am I then reveng'd, to take him in the purging of his soul, when he is fit and seasoned for his passage? No. I believe Hamlet claiming that it not being the right to kill Claudius at this point was because he was simply afraid to take another persons life, as it is something any moral, righteous person would be hesitant to do.

We can see that Gertrude also struggles with her morality in the closet scene in Act 3, Scene 4. Hamlet confronts Gertrude in regards to her oerhasty marriage to Claudius, and for the first time, we see remorse in Gertrude regarding her remarriage when she confesses: O Hamlet, speak no more: Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul; And there I see such black and grained spots. We now see that deep down; perhaps Gertrude does feel like her remarriage was immoral, therefore showing her struggle with right and wrongdoing in life. The key scene in which we see the smiling, damned villain Claudius struggle with morality is in his soliloquy in Act 3, Scene 3. Here we see Claudius trying to repent and ask God for forgiveness for murdering his brother for the title of king: O, my offence is rank it smells to heaven My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent. It is the first sign we see of his guilt and contrition, and by seeing this side of Claudius, it shows his own battle with morality and the difference between right and wrongdoing. Though hundreds of years have passed since William Shakespeare wrote Hamlet, the play is definitely still relevant to a modern day audience. This is achieved by Shakespeare through the themes used in the play. I think it is a credit to Shakespeare as a writer to include common themes which relate to every person. Every person experiences death, struggles with morality and has special relationships, much like the characters in this play; thus why Hamlet is still to this very day such a cherished play by the modern day audience. Austin ODonnell (5B), Cross and Passion College, Kilcullen