Grief 400 years ago is just like grief todayEven though Shakespeare’s Hamlet was written about 400 years ago, it is still is relatable to today in Hamlet grieving the loss his father. We all have experienced grief in some way, and we can relate with how Hamlet handles this grief, as he goes through several stages of mourning that include denial and anger.I believe grief is one of the most painful emotions that anyone can experience through in life, such as losing a loved one. We all know the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. There is no correct way or time to grieve; these stages are used to familiarize people with the aspects of grief and grieving.
Grief can overcome someone’s life such as Hamlet experiences. He goes through a variety of barriers throughout the novel, such as his father being murdered. The denial stage is not shown in the novel because the novel begins a couple months after his father’s death. He does not show the bargaining stage in the novel either. Unfortunately, I haven’t finished the novel yet but from what I have read you can clearly see Hamlet fulfills the grieving process of anger and depression. Anger is a necessary stage of the healing process.
It is important to feel anger, even though it may seem endless, because it allows emotions to be released instead of being trapped inside like a balloon waiting to explode. Hamlet undergoes this stage as his mother, Gertrude remarries immediately after his father’s death, King Hamlet. He states that “Within a month, ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears had left the flushing in her galled eyes, she married” (Act 1-Scene 2-Page 155-158). This quote exhibits Hamlet’s anger towards his mother because he does not believe she feels saddened by his father’s death as he refers to her tears as ‘insincere’ and she remarries within a month. Not only does Hamlet’s mother remarry immediately after her husband’s death, but she marries his own birth brother, Claudius, which is also classified as incest, bringing Hamlet to feel even more angry as he is no longer Claudius’ nephew, but he is his ‘son’. Hamlet also shows anger towards Ophelia as they interact with each other everyday. He tells her that he has “heard of her paintings too, well enough; God hath given her one face, and she makes herself another. She jigs and ambles, and she lisps, and nicknames God’s creature, and makes her wantonness her ignorance…to a nunnery, go” (Act 3-Scene 1).
Hamlet shows strong anger as he insults Ophelia for her cosmetics and tells her that her flirtatious affection is her excuse for her stupid behavior. Also, Hamlet seems to be the only grieving, no one else seems to be mourning over the death which is surprising, because he was the King of Denmark. Claudius asks Hamlet, “How is it that the clouds still hang on you?” (Act 1-Scene-2-Page 67). This shows King Claudius’ lack of grief towards the King’s death.The stage of depression Hamlet successfully journeys throughout the novel. Hamlet is extremely impacted by his father’s death and he begins to dress in ‘inky cloak’ and exibits sad emotions, such as tears and sighs.
He explains to his mother that, “‘Tis not alone my inky cloak…/nor customary suits of solemn black, /nor windy suspiration of forc’d breath, / no, nor the fruitful river in the eye, nor the dejected haviour of the visage, /…These but the trappings and the suits of woe” (Act 1-Scene-2). This displays Hamlet’s depressed lifestyle as he describes his physical appearance affected by his father’s death. Throughout the novel, Hamlet’s depression grows deeper and get so much worse. Through the death of Hamlet’s father, Shakespeare shows how one tragedy can lead to many stages of grief. Throughout the novel, Hamlet journeys through the grieving process in the stages of anger and depression. The grieving process has not changed since the time of Hamlet and today.