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'Without the soliloquies we have little knowledge of Hamlet's state of mind'.

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Introduction

'Without the soliloquies we have little knowledge of Hamlet's state of mind' Soliloquies are important and dramatic devices and Shakespeare makes use of them in 'Hamlet' several times. They allow the audience to understand a character more effectively as a play unfolds, as they can see what is going on inside the mind of the character. In 'Hamlet', the soliloquies performed by the title character, Hamlet, help reveal his deepest thoughts, inner conflicts and introspective attitude to the audience. Many would say that Hamlet's soliloquies give us all our knowledge of his state of mind during the play, as they are the only times when Hamlet truly confesses his thoughts to us. However others would disagree with the statement and point out that Hamlet's feelings are displayed through not only his soliloquies, but his conversations with other characters, his actions and in the way that other characters speak about him. In act 1, scene 2, Hamlet is introduced to the audience as the only character who is unwilling to play along with Claudius's shameless attempt to mimic a healthy royal court. He is immediately as seen as being detached from his family, and the rest of the court. ...read more.

Middle

This conversation recalls Hamlet's exchanges with Claudius in act one, scene two; it sounds like nonsense but has a thread of bitter satire running through it. Also in this episode, Hamlet tells Polonius that he 'cannot take from him any thing that he will more willingly part withal-except his life'. This is another sign that Hamlet is contemplating suicide. The audience can see Hamlet's sanity when he finds out that players have arrived at the castle, and he immediately is set on a train of thought, thinking up a plan - 'He that plays the king shall be welcome'. This scene also comprises of Hamlet's second major soliloquy. After watching a dramatic scene acted out by one of the players, Hamlet is impressed by the stimulated passion of the actor, how he engages emotionally with the story he is telling even though it is only an imaginative recreation. This motivates Hamlet to feel inadequate, guilty and ashamed of his delay in getting revenge. He asks himself 'What would he do had he the motive and the cue for passion that I have?' The soliloquy contains several self-accusations and Hamlet scolds himself greatly. This is shown by phrases such as 'O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!' ...read more.

Conclusion

Gertrude now hears things that only the audience have heard him say in soliloquies too. The killing of Polonius completely contradicts Hamlet's previous procrastination, but shows that Hamlet truly is willing to kill Claudius, and indeed is capable of the act. When the ghost of the king appears 'in his habit as he lived', it shows that Hamlet is desperate for a secure and loving family as he is drawn towards the ghost. In conclusion, I believe that statement is true in the sense that the soliloquies do help the audience enormously to keep track of Hamlet's state of mind throughout the play. They reveal thoughts and feelings to us that we could not have found out otherwise. However, it is possible to learn of Hamlet's state of mind in several other ways, as I have shown, such as the way his fellow characters talk about him, his actions, and through his conversations with other characters. Without the soliloquies in this play, it is possible to follow the story but the audience would not fully comprehend why Hamlet is acting in certain ways and doing certain things. However I think that the soliloquies in this play are extremely important and are very helpful to the audience. They reveal Hamlet's deepest thoughts and feelings and so we can have extended knowledge of Hamlet's state of mind throughout the play. ...read more.

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