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How Shakespeare presents Hamlet's turmoil through soliloquy

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Introduction

"Hamlet is a character whose mind is in turmoil." How far would you agree with this statement with particular reference to the ways in which Shakespeare presents Hamlet through his soliloquies? William Shakespeare presents Hamlet as possessing a mind that is in turmoil. However, it must be argued whether this turmoil exists in Hamlet's subliminal thoughts, as a result of recent experiences, or whether, as his soliloquies suggest, Hamlet's conscious thought processes reveal his reasoning behind why he should take revenge. The tragically flawed hero's confusion can be explained in various ways in terms of the events recently affecting him, including his father's death, his mother's incestuous marriage to his uncle and the discovery that this same uncle had murdered his father. It is therefore important to consider whether these events had a subconscious impact on Hamlet's thoughts which are presented by Shakespeare through soliloquies. King Hamlet's premature death has a large impact on Hamlet's outlook. This is evident in the bitterness he demonstrates towards his uncle. As Hamlet declares, Claudius is 'A little more than kin, and less than kind', suggesting his sense of antipathy rather than familial closeness with his 'kin' who had taken his father's place as King of Denmark, and made Gertrude his queen. ...read more.

Middle

It is therefore important to consider the Elizabethan context in which Hamlet may be perceived in comparison to the twenty-first century, thus: Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause, And can say nothing - no, not for a king (2.2.520-1) Where a twenty-first century audience would express sympathy for Hamlet's loss and would understand his hesitation in taking vengeance, an Elizabethan audience would not sympathise towards him for avenging his father's death, and would question why Hamlet is showing inaction. As Dor´┐Ż Ripley suggests, 'The church advocated God's vengeance, while the state demanded justice through God's chosen representative(s)' (Ripley, 1), meaning it would be Hamlet's duty to avenge his father's death in the eyes of the Elizabethan Church, for God's cause. Therefore, this would certainly contribute to Hamlet's turmoil, with the added pressure to 'exact God's vengeance on the wicked' (Ripley, 2), and become King of Denmark. However, in the eighteenth century, Thomas Hanmer drew attention to Hamlet's delay in avenging his father's death, suggesting that 'Had Hamlet gone naturally to work there would have been an end of our play', meaning Shakespeare's play would not have been as dramatic for his intended audience of his era. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore, whether Rycroft's analysis is related to the play must be considered because it does not directly link to Hamlet's situation, choosing to have a relationship with Ophelia because she resembles his mother he has sexual desires for. In Gertrude marrying Claudius, Hamlet's jealousy is provoked, which eventually contributes to his rage when alone with his mother, 'You are queen, your husband's brother's wife'. Here, Shakespeare shows Hamlet's confusion within his complex situation, that his mother has become queen by incestuously marrying her husband's brother. Combined with Hamlet's oedipal fantasy and his mother's new marriage, therefore, he is bound to show rage and confusion towards his mother and hostility towards her new partner. In conclusion, Hamlet is a character whose mind is in turmoil, which is subliminally presented through Shakespeare's use of soliloquies. This turmoil could exist due to Hamlet's life experiences, whether they were his father's death or his mother's hasty marriage to his uncle, who murdered his father. These occurrences may have caused Hamlet's confusion between mothers and lovers, his contemplation of suicide and his hostility towards others, resulting in catastrophe at the end of the play. An Elizabethan audience would not sympathise with Hamlet's hostility towards other and his delay in taking vengeance and so could argue that his mind is in turmoil, the reason why he is inactive. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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