Shakespeare’s famous play Hamlet has always been known as one of his best. Alexander the great was so famous for his status as one of the greatest conquerors of all time. It was due to this that his name found a place in this famous play written by Shakespeare. In Act V Scene I the following lines mentioned the name of Alexander:
“No, faith, not a jot, but to follow him thither with modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it; as thus: Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust; the dust is earth; of earth we make loam; and why of that loam whereto he was converted might they not stop a beer barrel? Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay, might stop a hold to keep the wind away. O, that that earth which kept the world in awe Should patch a wall t’expel the winter’s flaw!”
This line has been scrutinized and interpreted by many a literary figure. It has been collectively decided that this line spoken by Hamlet has the main purpose of discussing the fraility of human life. He wants to emphasize on the fact that no matter how much a human being may decide to do or how much he may think, in the end, he always goes back where he came from.
The whole play is, in itself, a huge discussion on the frailty of human beings. So much so that it can actually be considered to be the very theme of the play.
In the actual scene, they are standing in a graveyard while Hamlet is picking up skulls in a melancholy manner, twisting them in his hands and talking to Horatio. He wonders out aloud whether the skull of Alexander the great also looked the same in death.
He then goes on what can only be called a philosophical banter. The actual line seeks to tell the reader that no matter how great one may have been in life or what he may have accomplished, it is the same thing that happens to all their bodies.
He talks about the way in which the human body decomposes and states that even the body of Alexander the great went through all the very same stages of decomposition as well. He specifically states that be it a great ruler or a simple court jester, in death there is no difference between any of them.
The important aspect of the fact that his name was put into the play is that it emphasizes on how legendary the reputation of Alexander the great is. The very fact that his body decomposes just like the rest of human kind is mentioned in the play as a fact that is ironic and also wrought with disbelief.
It is used just to stress on the point that human beings are all intrinsically weak and in the end turn into dust no matter how hard they try to fight it!