• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Shakespeare dramatise Hamlet’s character and state of mind in his Soliloquies?

Extracts from this document...


How does Shakespeare dramatise Hamlet's character and state of mind in his Soliloquies? Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' is set in Denmark. The country is still very much in a period of instability even thought it seems to be settling down. 'Valiant' King Hamlet defeated King Fortinbras of Norway and gained his land fairly. The audience is aware that King Hamlet died through the apparition of his ghost but we are not informed of the circumstances under which he died. After King Hamlet's death his wife Gertrude married his brother Claudius. The audience first encounters Hamlet in his first soliloquy (Act 1, Scene 2). We are aware that Hamlet has been mourning. Claudius even describes it as "'tis unmanly grief;' which is a very inconsiderate response to someone who is grieving. The audience can sense that there is a lot of tension between Claudius and Hamlet because Hamlet tends to talk only to his mother even when Claudius addresses him. In Hamlet's first soliloquy the audience sees the scope of Hamlet's grief, 'O that this too too solid flesh would melt, Thaw and resolve itself into dew' (1, 2, 129-130) Hamlet is contemplating suicide. Shakespeare repeats 'too' twice to show the resilience of Hamlet's body. ...read more.


Hamlet is a very intellectual and this allows Shakespeare to use an array of writers' techniques. 'With this slave's offal. Bloody, bawdy villain, Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindles Villain! O vengeance! ' (2, 2, 586-588) Hamlets frustration with himself boils over into self ridicule. There is a use of sibilance which evokes a hissing sound of a snake. This implies deceit, sin, temptation and also it could refer back to the snake that supposedly killed King Hamlet. It also reiterates the meaning of each word. It is like Hamlet is actually beating himself up. The usage of the 'b' sound produces a felling of something being hit. The usage of such negative language builds up like a volcano until Hamlet erupts with 'villain', the pause dose indicated that Hamlet will calm down, however he erupts again with 'O vengeance' yet after this the pause is used to calm Hamlet, slightly. There is also the timing of the meter involved, the second half of the first line 'bloody' etc uses 2 syllables but as the flogging increases so do the syllables 'trech-er-ous'. The use on enjambment shows continuous self loathing. Shakespeare uses this later to show Hamlet's line of thought. ...read more.


Shakespeare also allows Hamlet to slip back into his self loathing exhibited in his second soliloquy. Hamlet describes Fortinbras as 'divine prince' because he respects what Fortinbras is doing to avenge his father. 'Rightly to be... at stake' (4, 4, 55-58) shows that Hamlet still despises himself because he is very much aware that he has not take action. In each of his soliloquies Shakespeare laments Hamlet's inability to avenge his father's death. When Hamlet finally takes action it is because he is forced to, as a result of Claudius's plans. The soliloquies suggest that Hamlet is more of a scholar than a soldier. He would rather contemplate the metaphysical questions of life than fight for anything, even though the audience is aware that he is capable of fighting for what he believes in. In spite of this Hamlet is still able to retain some honour. Shakespeare uses the soliloquy as a source of meditation, introspection and the expression of emotions from his characters. Matthew Arnold even described soliloquies as 'The dialogue of the mind, with itself.' Yet in Hamlet Shakespeare uses his soliloquies to confirm to his audience what he already let them know; fulfilling at once the expectations of the audience and the demands of the dramatic art. Although each soliloquy takes a slightly different approach to Hamlet's problem, Hamlet's essence and character never changes. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Hamlet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Hamlet essays

  1. Critical review of 'Hamlet'

    It provides evidence that Hamlet is not as focused on revenge as he would perhaps like to be perceived as because he is actually a very selfish character. This is the first time in 'Hamlet' that Hamlet has caused a death although, from his pledge for 'revenge' at the start it is what he had planned.

  2. Scene by Scene - Hamlet.

    Laertes suddenly realizes he has to leave quickly (uh huh). Polonius comes in and lays some famous fatherly advice on Laertes. It's today's self-centered worldly wisdom. "Listen closely, and say less than you know. Think before you act. Don't be cold, but don't be too friendly.

  1. Free essay

    'Frailty Thy Name is Woman' How does Shakespeare present women and sex in Hamlet?

    Henry the VIII married his brothers widow, Catherine of Aragon, because this was frowned upon in the Tudor times, he used it as an excuse when he later wanted to divorce her. Hamlet says 'But two months dead,' the essential association of incestuous desire takes place between Hamlet and his

  2. A consideration of the extent to which, in Hamlet's soliloquies, Hamlet is presented by ...

    Act 1, scene ii (135-137) The structure of the language within the soliloquy also demonstrates to the reader Hamlet's emotional state. Hamlet's thoughts are not fluent; he often interrupts himself with his own expressive comments, as evident in the lines: "That it should come to this - But two months

  1. How does Shakespeare use language to describe Claudius as a villain?

    "My soul is full of discord and dismay" he says. He will act quickly on the news but he is clearly fearful. "His liberty is full of threats to all". He hides his fears behind the apparent concern of an uncle, who has been protecting Hamlet out of love but who will protect Hamlet no longer.

  2. Comment on the use of soliloquies in Hamlet. Discuss Hamlet's first soliloquy and show ...

    I think Hamlet has very strong feelings of love for his father because they were close, as is shown in the talks he has with the Ghost of Hamlet.

  1. Hamlet's Key soliloquies

    He pays reference to Hecuba, the heroine of classic mythology, who displayed much profound grief at the death of her husband. "A broken voice, and his whole function suiting / with forms to his conceit? And all for nothing!

  2. Criticism on Hamlet

    nor perhaps would it much misbeseem us to remember, amidst our triumphs over the nonsensical and the senseless, that we likewise are men; that debemur morti, and as Swift observed toBurnet , shall soon be among the dead ourselves. [193] Act III.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work