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Ophelia depicts lady Ophelia's mysterious death by drowning. In the play, the clowns discuss whether Ophelia's death was a suicide and whether or not she merits a Christian burial. (Artist: John Everett Millais 1852).

Written at a time of religious upheaval, and in the wake of the English Reformation, the play is alternately Catholic (or piously medieval) and Protestant (or consciously modern). The Ghost describes himself as being in purgatory, and as dying without last rites. This and Ophelia's burial ceremony, which is characteristically Catholic, make up most of the play's Catholic connections. Some scholars have observed that revenge tragedies come from traditionally Catholic countries, such as Spain and Italy; and they present a contradiction, since according to Catholic doctrine the strongest duty is to God and family. Hamlet's conundrum, then, is whether to avenge his father and kill Claudius, or to leave the vengeance to God, as his religion requires.[74]

Much of the play's Protestantism derives from its location in Denmark—both then and now a predominantly Protestant country, though it is unclear whether the fictional Denmark of the play is intended to mirror this fact. The play does mention Wittenberg, where Hamlet, Horatio, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern attend university, and where Martin Luther first proposed his 95 theses in 1517, effectively ushering in the Protestant Reformation.[75] In Shakespeare's day Denmark, as the majority of Scandinavia, was Lutheran.[76]

Date: 2015-04-20; view: 965

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Classification of the plays | Philosophical
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