Consuming, inhaling, recuperating, and dying are all necessary for living. We all begin and inevitably have to come to the same enddeathno matter what we accomplish in the span of our life. Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alex-/ander returneth to dust, and there [was] no sign of the groundhog after three years past from its death: whether you are as significant as Alexander the Great or as simplistic as the groundhog, death will claim your life, leave nothing to remain and life around you will continue; a theme captured by both Shakespeare in Hamlet and Eberhart in The Groundhog (5.1.216-217) (42).
A fathers murder, an uncle and fathers killer quickly wed to a mother, and a loved one whose death is questioned to be suicide all lay heavy and Hamlets shoulders. To be or not to bethat is the question, to exist or not to exist is the question Hamlet faces as a series of unfortunate events weigh down his soul (3.1.64). Hamlet wants to end the pain by bringing death to himself, but thought leaves him with out actionthus conscience does make cowards of us all,/ and thus the native hue of resolution/ is sicklied oer with the pale cast of thought/ with regard their currents turn awry/ and loose their name of action (3.1.91-96). Death to him, he sees, is inevitable but he cant seem to accept the thought of going into an unknown and endless sleep in which no traveler returns (3.1.88). Realization that death is inevitable no matter what life youve lived faces Hamlet once more as he gazes upon Yoricks skull, remembering that he hath bore me (Hamlet) on his back a thousand times and now the only thing left of him is not his jokes or the laughter but a mere skull that too will soon become part of the earth, like Alexander the Great who, no matter how great he was, he no longer is. Shakespeare then captures the essence of lifes cycle when Hamlets life eludes him and Fortinbras takes the thrown. Hamlet has to face his fears of the unknown and when death greets him, as well as everyone around him, Denmark still lives and is taken over by Fortinbras. Shakespeare puts closure in his theme of death by not only establishing that death is inevitable but also that after your death the world keeps turning.
Looking down at the groundhog the speaker of the poem has to contemplate similar thoughts presented in Hamlet. poke[ing] him with an angry stick he begins to feel a sence of sorrow and love for the groundhog laying lifeless on the ground; however, it seems that every time the speaker returns to the resting place a little less of the creature is left as well as the memory of its existence (12). The first time he (the speaker) returned the bony sodden hulk remained/ but the year had lost its meaning then only a little hair [was] left, and as time passed bones were left bleaching in the sunlight; all eventually turning into nothing (28-29,36,37). Watching this life form slowly fade and realizing fields continue to be massive and burning with life he placed his hand on his withered heart: the speaker now realizes that he to will face this same fate and he too will eventually be nothing just as Alexander or Saint Theresa (34,44).
Shakespeare and Eberhart both establish this them in their works. They captivate the audience and provoke their thoughts of death. In these works they want the audience to contemplate the fear we truly hold with death as well as meaning we give to it.