Theme of Death in Hamlet and Dr. Faustus
In both plays, Hamlet and Dr. Faustus, the themes of death influence both characters into making decisions that they would not usually make. They both start to think of death after something big has happened in his life. Hamlet’s event being the death of his father and Dr. Faustus’s event being he thinks he knows everything.
Hamlet’s character is one that is full of the idea of death after the murder of his father. He is overcome by a sadness that puts him into a deep depression. In this depression he even considers suicide, wishing that his ‘too too solid flesh would melt’ but never acts on these words until near the end of the play. He is very hesitant, immersed in his own pain and then starts to make plans to avenge his father, but he almost never follows these plans through.
Where Hamlet is our hero in the play, death is our enemy in the play, as it is in reality. Hamlet is driven by the knowledge that he too will perish someday, and this death drive is what compels him to plot revenge and to actually follow through, to create (when he directs the play within the play) a trap for his uncle, to think about his own well-being and the meaning of his life and life in general. In perhaps his most famous speech beginning ‘To be or not to be, that is the question’, the character of Hamlet poses the eternal question to the audience that is constantly present in the back of our minds but that we must ignore this in order to keep living without fear.
The thing that disturbs this character most is not actually his father’s death, but how his mother has moved on so quickly, because he is unnerved by the idea that if someone can be forgotten about so quickly after their death, then life has no meaning at all.
The theme of death cements itself into the audiences mind throughout the play. The word ‘rank’ appears repeatedly in Hamlets descriptions of both the world (which he compares to an untidy and overgrown garden), and...