The Mystery of Life and Death

“Thou know’st ’tis common; all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.”

Hamlet

“So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein—more, far more, will I achieve; treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation.”

Frankenstein

Life and Death

Tale as old as time
a blemish of the human mind
quest to understand
life and deaths fine line
mystery of life and death
fear what we long to forget
Literature is a looking glass into the subconscious mind
& hidden thoughts are pulled from our heads
tale as old as time
can’t seem to forget
what will we be
when we are dead?

Hamlet
Vendetta in the night
ghosts cloud the air
subconscious mind
To be or not to be?
infamous line
life or death
why survive?

alas poor Yorick
rotten to the bone
ghost of a fool
Hamlet had known
human obsession
redundant question
when will we learn
our cosmic lesson

we search for this answer
but well never know why
those who live, live
unless they’re meant to die

Body with the king
king without a body
vindictive ghosts
vengeful army

mystery of life and death
fear what we long to forget
Literature is a looking glass into the subconscious mind
& hidden thoughts are pulled from our heads
playing God
heretic
wrong
only God can give life to the dead
leave this mystery where it belongs

Frankenstein, freak of nature
where does life originate?
playing god, religious labor
when were dead is it too late?
immortal egos
selfish strength
cross the line
reanimate
desecrated dead
demand he face
a karmic debt
he’d have to pay

human nature
instincts
tell us we must live
despite what we may think

did I request thee
maker from my clay
curiosity killed
a gentle kitten at play

mystery of life and death
fear what we long to forget
Literature is a looking glass into the subconscious mind
& hidden thoughts are pulled from our heads

Reflection
I decided to write a poem for this project because it is the writing style I am most confident in. The mystery of life and death remains humankind’s most elusive question. This seemed to be a prevalent theme in Hamlet as well as Frankenstein. Both Hamlet and Frankenstein cross the line between life and death in different ways, and this proves itself to be a mistake. Karma will always come back around looking to even the score. Sometimes its better off letting things work out how they will, and to leave the existential questions to fate. The creation of life on earth remains a mystery to this day, yet we have been trying to uncover it since the human consciousness transcended past our animal instincts. I used several quotes from Hamlet and Frankenstein in my poem to show the correlation between themes in each story.

The body is with the King, but the King is not with the
body.

Hamlet (IV.ii.23–24)

I used this quote because I believe it went well with the theme in question. Hamlet questions the relationship between body and soul, and ponders over where this soul may be. Death has remained the most illusive aspect of life, and this can be examined through literature. Literature serves as a permanent documentation of the human experience, giving us the opportunity to explore the minds of intellectuals that came before us. By utilizing the texts in both Hamlet and Frankenstein we can analyze how the mystery of life and death has evolved.

Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio

Hamlet (V.i.174)

I incorporated this quote because I believe it is a very important part of the play. This is when Hamlet holds the skull in the air and mutters those famous words “to be, or not to be”. Yorick is dead, yet Hamlet holds his skull; his body remains although his soul has departed. I feel like this is something a lot of people struggle with when their loved ones die, and Shakespeare utilized this exclusively human experience perfectly. We are the only species that bury our dead and hold ceremony’s based death. This is due to the transcendence of the human mind, and our ability to think existentially.

Did I request thee, maker of my clay

Frankenstein

Many times I considered Satan as the fitter emblem of my condition; for often, like him, when I viewed the bliss of my protectors, the bitter gall of envy rose within me.

Frankenstein

These quotes represent how the monster compared himself with both Adam and Satan simultaneously, and this is most likely because of his abnormal creation. The monster identifies with satan because he feels envious of God’s children, and angry this creator because he did not ask for this life of pain and misery. The question of whether or not the monster should have been artificially animated relates back to the human obsession with creation and death.

All in all, there is a lesson that can be learned by analyzing the theme of the mystery of life and death in literature. Since the beginning of human history we have tirelessly chased answers about the origins of life and the mystery of death. It is instinctual to want to know what happens when we die, how our life was created, and why this all occurs. Hamlet and Frankenstein show us the madness and despair one can experience if they let this mystery take over their life. Hamlet was obsessed with death, and this can be seen many times throughout the story. He ponders suicidal thoughts while holding a dead man’s skull, he obsesses over his fathers death, and the whole story is based on avenging his fathers killer by also killing him. Death is inevitable, and life remains a mystery; as we can see from both stories, the pursuit of this knowledge is futile.

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