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PROMPT: Critic Roland Barthes has said, Literature is the question minus the answer.

Write an essay in which you analyze a central question Hamlet raises and the extent to which it offers answers.

Literature, in itself, is a form of art. Like all forms if visual art, literature is created through the abstractions and understandings of human creative skill and imagination, typically posing questions about human nature and the conflicts that plague people in spiritual, emotional, fictional, and authentic realms, and possess the ability to leave open the interpretations of those who read, listen, and watch. The tragedy of Hamlet is the drama of the young prince of Denmark, Hamlet, whom, under the persuasion of an apparition that appears to him, must determine whether to seek revenge upon his uncle and avenge his father's, late King of Denmark, death. Hamlet is both illustrious and praised for its ability to pose questions that are still relevant today. Now, while the play may pose some insightful inquiries concerning the idea of life and death, as seen through Hamlets famous To be or not to be soliloquy, and the mechanics behind one's morals concerning the topic, the play is left decidedly ambiguous - both good and bad results happen from willingly living or willingly facing the unknown, therefore the play allows a solid interpretation of both stances. Shakespeare, in a sense, almost challenges the reader rather than provide an actual answer to his question because in both cases, life or death are neither seen as favorable or admirable. It does not outright say the thoughts of the men within the army, considering they are all only mentioned in passing, but there is a level of understanding that these men must have had, that being the fact that it was possible that death awaited them on the other end of battle. If thats the case, why exactly did Hamlet, whom had no real known threat posed upon him, hesitate in seeking revenge when he had countless times to react? In fact, Hamlets only real reason to kill both Laertes and Claudius was in an act of impulsiveness under pressure, that being, his getting stabbed before he could react. Again, what exactly is Shakespeare trying to tell the reader about life? Hamlets suffering, while cruel and in no circumstance desirable, is nothing compared to that of the men being sent to a pointless battle. When put into thought, Hamlet was a prince who had derived from a rich family. Hamlets life was anything short of the comfortable lifestyle accompanied with that of someone who was rich. So exactly, how did Hamlet really suffer? It could be possible that Shakespeare wanted to criticize life in an almost cynical fashion. He wanted to show how life, in all cases, is undesirable. For Hamlet, a man with riches and wealth, could be made to seem so miserable whilst indirectly saying that those who had less, had it much worse. If life is as horrible as Hamlet makes it out to be then why is it that he hesitates? Why is it that we too hesitate? It is perhaps the fear of the unknown, the risk one must take in order to end their suffering; the risk of having to face life after death. Shakespeare makes the reader too hesitate about the thought of death. We are forced to hesitate because, conscience dost make cowards of us all(. It is impossible to be certain of what lies after death. Life may be filled with suffering but the only thing stopping most of us is our fear of the unknown, so we choose life over the risk of possible damnation.

Shakespeare too, questions life and its worth. Hamlet begs the question of the value of life, its importance, and asks if we all returneth to dust(Act V Scene I) no matter what order of importance we held when alive, then what is the true purpose of living. Shakespeare leaves the answer to the questions decidedly ambiguous. He gives the reader both negative perspectives, pointing out the flaws in life but emphasizing, as well, the punishments and uncertainties that accompany death.
that the play doesnt answer and is thus left ambiguous - both good and bad results happen from willingly living or willingly facing the unknown, therefore the play allows a solid interpretation of both

Shakespeare provided the question and where he may have been able to provide an answer, he chose to leave the gap suspiciously empty. In fact, there are many central, key facts in Hamlet that are left unknown to the reader. It is possible that Shakespeare wanted us to explain his works ourselves, to ask our own questions and provide our own answers. In any case, Shakespeare gave us, as readers, a true question without an answer. Being published in 1604, it is a wonder why Hamlet, possibly Shakespeares most well-known and praised work, is still read today. Perhaps it is the sole reason that the reader is never given an answer. We, like Hamlet himself, are uncertain, and are forced to question the inner workings of the play. No matter what the case, at the end of the day, we may never be truly certain as to whether it is better to be or not to be.