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Examine the Dramatic Importance of the Five Major Soliloquies From Hamlet

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29 October 2000 Harshil Shah Examine the Dramatic Importance of the Five Major Soliloquies From Hamlet A soliloquy is a dramatic device which allows a character to reveal his thoughts to the audience, but not to the other characters on stage. It gives a clear insight into the character's thoughts, character and intentions, all of which can be withheld from the other characters in the play, often creating dramatic irony. In Hamlet's soliloquies, Hamlet always tells the truth, but only the partial and subjective truth he himself knows or believes, so the audience can hear different opinions of the same events. Hamlet's soliloquies are varied, each having different purposes, and the large number of soliloquies in Hamlet indicates the importance of Hamlet's thoughts in the play. During a soliloquy, a character such as Hamlet can reveal a lot of information. He can inform the audience about himself, including his character, his mood, his opinions and his relationships with other characters in the play. He can also reveal what has happened in the play so far and fill in gaps in the audience's understanding of the plot. In the same way, he can hint at what is to come in the future. ...read more.


After a very short period of time, Hamlet appears depressed and suicidal in his next soliloquy, which reveals his state of mind. It seems strange that he should be contemplating suicide having had such a good idea in the last scene which he hasn't yet carried out, but this soliloquy may be part of his "antic disposition" which is to be said in front of the King and Polonius. If this is not the case, the soliloquy shows his mental instability by changing so fast from cheerful to depressed. Although the audience learns about Hamlet's philosophy of the futility of life, he doesn't really want to die, since he seems scared of the "dread of something after death" (3.1.78). Instead he wants to simply not exist in order that he doesn't have any responsibilities. Hamlet also suggests that the ghost he saw wasn't real by saying that "no traveller returns" from death, which supports his idea to test if the ghost was real by 'The Mousetrap'. Hamlet further resolves to avenge his father's murder at the end, rather like the end of the second soliloquy. The Christian views on suicide of the time are shown. In the Elizabethan era, people believed suicide was wrong, which adds to the conflict between Hamlet's problems and his religion. ...read more.


In a film, this can be presented as a voice over, such as in the Kenneth Brannagh film where Hamlet is seen pacing up and down a room on his own, talking to himself. On the other hand, a character can deliver the soliloquy directly to the audience, which implies that he is trying to convince or persuade people to see his point of view, or he is explaining the reasons for his actions. This is like the Stephen Daldry production of An Inspector Calls in which Sheila addresses the audience directly when she is confessing to what she did. The way in which the soliloquies are presented emphasize different aspects of it and how the audience will react to it. Each soliloquy reveals something new to the audience, so they are all individually important. Put together however, the soliloquies are very useful dramatic devices which inform the audience of simple things such as information about the characters and also more complex aspects of the play such as tension and dramatic irony. The many different purposes of soliloquies makes them very significant in all plays, especially Hamlet since this play would not be able to be so complicated without the many soliloquies in it. Harshil Shah 11C Examine the Dramatic Importance of the Five Major Soliloquies From Hamlet Harshil Shah 1 2/15/2006 ...read more.

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