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Hamlet, King Claudius' Soliloquy

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Introduction

´╗┐The Shakespearian play, Hamlet, includes a soliloquy by King Claudius in Act 3, scene 3 that shows him in prayer and trying to repent for his sins. This scene occurs just after the play within the play, which is used to confirm the fact that Claudius is guilty of the former King?s murder in Hamlet?s eyes. This play presents enough evidence to confirm the guilt of King Claudius to Hamlet and therefore condemn him, finally allowing Hamlet to put his plan into action. During the King?s prayer, it is made obvious to the audience that he truly did murder his brother. As soon as he is alone, the king immediately confesses and expresses his guilt over the death. Shakespeare uses dramatic irony, while maintaining a strong meaning within the context of the soliloquy. This allows the audience to have a deeper understanding of the King?s personality and predicament. The literary techniques are rife with Shakespeare?s language proving to be highly effective in conveying his ideas. Shakespeare uses dramatic irony within this soliloquy, as Hamlet?s main intent within the entire play is to kill the King and avenge his father. However, Hamlet wants it to be the perfect time so that Claudius will be sent into purgatory or worse, so when he finds the King vulnerable but in apparent prayer, he refrains from killing him. ...read more.

Middle

Shakespeare uses the words, ?double business bound? to create an oxymoron as they indicate that the King is obliged to undertake these two things but he cannot, due to their incompatibility. While the king speaks this soliloquy, it also provides the audience with a basis to develop the question of Hamlet?s sanity. Hamlet overhears this soliloquy and we can tell that he uses clear logic in his decision not to kill the king and is still very sane. (How do we know this? Maybe develop this idea further if you can) Shakespeare?s use of the word ?rank? in describing the King?s crime creates olfactory imagery evoking thoughts of disgust and an offensive, foul-smelling odour, suitably matching the abhorrent sin. Fittingly, being a scene of prayer and hopeful forgiveness, Shakespeare uses a biblical reference within this soliloquy. The ?primal eldest curse? alludes to the first murder in Judaeo-Christian tradition where God curses Cain for murdering his brother Abel. This tells us that Claudius is admitting to murdering his brother and it portrays his immense feeling of guilt through Shakespeare?s indication towards such a horrific biblical scene. Secondly, the words ?wash it white with snow? refers to Claudius? hand, signifying three different proverbial sayings. ?To wash one?s hands of a thing?, ?All the water in the sea cannot wash out this stain? and ?As white as snow?. ...read more.

Conclusion

the king ironically is not praying but admitting not willing to give back profits ?May one be pardoned and retain th' offense?? theme of appearance verses reality Voice palpable sense of despair loud wailing tone but shifts to self pitying and loathing tries to negotiate and begs and moans to the angels Character Proves Hamlets sanity ?I am still possess'd of those effects for which I did the murder? - Claudius does not truly regret what he has done stricken with guilt - ?O bosom black as death!? we feel sorry for him as he cannot escape - ?double business bound? Language ?rank? - olfactory imagery, matches abhorrent sin biblical reference ?primal eldest curse? alludes to the first murder, Cain murders his brother Abel ?Wash it white with snow?, proverbial sayings ?To wash one?s hands of a thing?, ?All the water in the sea cannot wash out this stain?, and ?As white as snow? Recurring symbolic idea of unweeded garden Metaphors ?teeth and forehead?, previous idea of ?confronting the visage of offence?, expressing defiance or anger ?O bosom black as death!? - emblematic of Claudius? heart ?limed? soul is symbolic of it being trapped like a bird with birdlime repetition of rhetorical questions Conclusion conveys Kings insecurity and fear of afterlife tormented by the fact that he still desires the benefits of the crown and the Queen demonstrate Hamlet?s sanity continue the theme of appearance verses reality ...read more.

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