In Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the main hero contemplates the certainty of death over the skull. It belongs to Yorick, a jester he once knew. In his thoughts, he concludes that death is an ultimate equalizer of all lives. In the end, everyone will “return into dust.”
In Act 5 Scene 1, William Shakespeare portrays Prince Hamlet as oblivious. He is overthinking past incidents that led to this tragedy. The setting further highlights the nihilistic tendencies in the main hero and his deep existential crisis. The scene takes place in the graveyard, and two gravediggers indulge in a little gallows humor. They happen to have near them the skull of a person whom Hamlet once knew. Even after recognizing Yorick, his father’s jester, Hamlet appears desensitized to this finding.
Deep in his thoughts, Hamlet accepts that death has the ultimate power to equalize every man. Be it a king or a peasant—everybody meets the same end. His famous words “Alas, poor Yorick” bear little grief in them. Instead, they close the theme of his spiritual growth and maturation. Prince has positive memories of Yorick. Yet they only serve as a message to Hamlet that all human endeavors end with death.
His lamentations set him on a path to his demise. All his thoughts are consumed by the idea of physical and spiritual decay. Hamlet identifies the futility of further struggles, yet he is disgusted by it. Unwilling to accept such an outcome, he struggles to make peace with it. However, the Shakespearean tragedy does not end well for its hero.