Exploring The Dark Depths: Hamlet and The Theme of Suicide

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 811 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Words: 811|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Table of contents

  1. The Dilemma of Existence
  2. The Weight of Grief and Despair
  3. The Mask of Madness
  4. Conclusion
  5. Bibliography

William Shakespeare, one of the most renowned playwrights in history, explores the complex theme of suicide in his tragic masterpiece, Hamlet. Throughout the play, the protagonist, Prince Hamlet, contemplates the idea of ending his own life, and this theme is echoed in various quotes and soliloquies. These Hamlet suicide quotes not only shed light on the character's inner turmoil but also invite readers to ponder the deeper implications of such a grave decision. This essay will delve into the significance of these quotes, examining their impact on the story and shedding light on the complexities of human nature.

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The Dilemma of Existence

One of the most famous quotes related to suicide in Hamlet is found in Act III, Scene I, when Hamlet utters the words, "To be, or not to be, that is the question" (III.i.56). These iconic words encapsulate the existential crisis that Hamlet finds himself in. The quote highlights his contemplation of suicide as a means of escape from the pain and suffering of life. The phrase "to be, or not to be" serves as a metaphorical representation of the choice between existence and non-existence.

Moreover, this quote also raises questions about the nature of human existence itself. Hamlet ponders the purpose and meaning of life, questioning whether it is worth enduring the hardships and injustices that accompany it. This introspective soliloquy showcases Shakespeare's ability to delve into the depths of human thought and emotion, leaving readers pondering the complexities of their own existence.

The Weight of Grief and Despair

Throughout the play, Hamlet is burdened with immense grief and despair, which further fuels his contemplation of suicide. In Act I, Scene II, he expresses his anguish and desire for death, stating, "O, that this too too solid flesh would melt, / Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!" (I.ii.129-130). Here, Hamlet longs for his physical body to dissolve, symbolizing his yearning for escape from his tormented mental state. This quote not only showcases the depth of Hamlet's despair but also emphasizes the heavy weight of grief and its potential to drive individuals to consider drastic measures.

Furthermore, the theme of suicide is further explored in Act III, Scene III, when Hamlet encounters his uncle, King Claudius, praying. In this scene, Hamlet contemplates killing Claudius but refrains from doing so, fearing that his uncle's soul would be sent to heaven. He reflects upon the idea that suicide may be a more preferable option for himself, exclaiming, "Now might I do it pat, now he is praying; / And now I'll do't. And so he goes to heaven" (III.iii.77-78). This quote illustrates Hamlet's internal struggle, as he grapples with the moral implications of taking another's life, particularly when weighed against the consequences of his own potential suicide.

The Mask of Madness

Another significant aspect of Hamlet's contemplation of suicide lies in his feigned madness. Throughout the play, Hamlet adopts the guise of a madman, using it as a tool to conceal his true intentions and emotions. In Act II, Scene II, he confesses his desire for self-annihilation to his trusted friend, Horatio, stating, "I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" (II.ii.254-255). This quote highlights the extent of Hamlet's mental anguish and his longing for freedom from his troubled mind.

Furthermore, Hamlet's contemplation of suicide also serves as a reflection of the overall theme of appearance versus reality in the play. By presenting himself as a madman, Hamlet masks his true intentions and emotions, making it difficult for others to discern the truth. This quote infuses an element of irony into the story, as Hamlet's words convey a sense of grandeur and power, contrasting with his actual state of despair and vulnerability.


The theme of suicide in William Shakespeare's Hamlet is intricately woven throughout the play, with various quotes shedding light on the inner turmoil and existential crisis faced by the protagonist, Prince Hamlet. These quotes not only invite readers to contemplate the complexities of human nature but also emphasize the weight of grief, the moral implications of taking another's life, and the masks individuals may wear in their struggle against despair. Shakespeare's masterful portrayal of this theme serves as a reminder of the profound impact our emotions and thoughts can have on our actions, leaving us to ponder the deeper implications of life and death.

In conclusion, the Hamlet suicide quotes reveal the multifaceted nature of this tragic character and add depth to the overall narrative. Shakespeare's exploration of suicide encourages readers to reflect on their own existential dilemmas and the complexities of the human condition. By delving into the depths of despair, grief, and the masks we wear, Hamlet serves as a timeless work that continues to resonate with audiences, prompting us to question the meaning of our own existence.

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Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Edited by Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine, Folger Shakespeare Library, 1992.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Exploring the Dark Depths: Hamlet and the Theme of Suicide. (2024, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from
“Exploring the Dark Depths: Hamlet and the Theme of Suicide.” GradesFixer, 14 Jun. 2024,
Exploring the Dark Depths: Hamlet and the Theme of Suicide. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 15 Jul. 2024].
Exploring the Dark Depths: Hamlet and the Theme of Suicide [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 14 [cited 2024 Jul 15]. Available from:
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