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Christabelle Intong
Mr. Palcsey
Honors English
October 19, 2017
Hamlet’s Faith
The Tragedy of Hamlet; Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare is one of the most

popular tragic plays ever written. Hamlet is the longest play ever written by Shakespeare and it

has influenced many of the books and television shows that are popular today. The play shows

that during the Elizabethan Era people cared more about morality and the afterlife. The main

character Hamlet, who is the Prince of Denmark is returning home because of his father’s death.

Hamlet is visited by the ghost of his father telling him to avenge his death. Hamlet’s religion

plays a big role with his character because his religion affects his thoughts and actions.

Hamlet is easily lead to temptation which leads to self-examination. “O, that this too,

sullied flesh would melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a dew, or that the Everlasting had not fixed

His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God, O God! How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to

me all the uses of this world!” (Act I scene two). Hamlet is very emotional and contemplates the

idea of suicide. Hamlet wants to disappear and be gone forever. He cries out to God why suicide

is against the rules and a sin. If Hamlet commits suicide he would be in eternal suffering or in

hell. Hamlet’s faith makes him think before he acts. At the end of Act I scene 5, there is an

exchange between Hamlet and his childhood friend, Horatio. “Never speak of this that you have

seen, Swear by the sword.” Hamlet orders Horatio not to tell anyone about seeing the ghost of

the dead king. When Horatio swears by the sword, he swears on his faith because the sword

symbolizes a cross.
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Hamlet’s faith causes him to have different emotions and behavior towards others.

Hamlet is still in shock that Claudius and Gertrude got married. Ophelia and Hamlet have an

interesting exchange in Act III. In the beginning Hamlet would write letters to Ophelia about

how much he loved her, but he changes his opinion of her because of his mother and her

marriage with Claudius. “I have heard of tour paintings well enough. God hath given you one

face, and you make yourself another.” (Act III scene one). Hamlet tells Ophelia that he didn’t

lover her and that she should be chaste and even orders her to go to a nunnery. Faith is supposed

to keep the believer calm and at peace after hearing shocking news, for instance Gertrude’s

marriage. Hamlet thinks he is a savior and thinks he’s saving Ophelia, by telling her to go to a

nunnery.

Hamlet spends a lot of time with by himself thinking about his spirituality. Hamlet’s

suicidal thoughts resurface when he is alone, meanwhile King Claudius and Polonius are hiding.

“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 and, by opposing, end

them.” (Act III scene one). Hamlet wants to die and no longer feel pain. After this famous

soliloquy, Hamlet decides to not commit suicide because he does not know what will happen to

his soul after his death. Hamlet’s main goal was to avenge his father’s death by killing Claudius.

Hamlet had the perfect opportunity to kill Claudius, but he chose not to. In Act III scene 3,

Claudius confesses that he murdered his brother and tries to pray and ask for his sins to be

atoned. Hamlet says, “Now might I do it, now he is praying and now I’ll do’t. And so he goes to

heaven, a villain kills my father, and for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send to heaven.”

Hamlet was behind Claudius ready to avenge his father’s death, but he couldn’t pursue the
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action. Hamlet feared that if Claudius died while confessing his sins, Claudius’ soul would go to

heaven.

Faith plays the greatest role in Hamlet’s life. Hamlet cares deeply about his faith that is

why in the beginning he was very hesitant about avenging his father’s death. Hamlet was scared

to commit such a sin because he didn’t want to be a sinner. Hamlet doubts himself many times

and struggles to make up his mind, because he can not decide whether he is going against his

faith. Hamlet has a deep sense of faith because his decisions, actions, and behavior towards

others and himself is based on his spirituality and morals.