How Does Shakespeare Use Religion In Hamlet

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During the 15th century, Shakespeare was a young boy growing up in a Catholic household during a time period where Catholics were being challenged for their beliefs and repudiated by society. Protestantism had been announced the official religion of England a year before Shakespeare was born, but Shakespeare did not grow up in a Protestant household, his father was Catholic during a time were Catholic’s often faced violence, police searches and harassment. Due to his father’s financial woes Shakespeare went to stay with a family friend, who illegally harbored priests and illegal catholic artifacts and religious books that were banned. Catholics often had to hide spiritual materials for the fear of them being found and lived in constant fear of persecution…show more content…
Instead of committing to one religion, Shakespeare capitalized on it, writing in his plays about religion using both Catholic and Protestant themes and rituals and the struggle the characters faced using conflict and power as a main topic in his plays (Ronson). Religion is mentioned repeatedly in Hamlet, and religious issues are often the subject of extended discussion. Characters in Hamlet used religion as a way for revenge, as a way for forgiveness for their mistakes, and religion influenced the way of lived and their actions. In the beginning of Hamlet, we see religion come into play when a ghost comes to Denmark, symbolizing something rotten is happening. When a ghost arrives in Denmark Hamlet is unsure what to do, commenting he might need spiritual protection. The ghost claiming to be King Hamlet speaks of a placed called purgatory, filled with flames and agony which he is forced to stay until he pays for his sins he committed on earth (1.5.15). Purgatory is a popular belief in the Catholics, they believe it’s a place where people go to pay for their sins before going to heaven (Kay). King
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