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

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

Extracts from this document...

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.

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. Marked by a teacher

    Explore the "loving mother-son" relationship between Gertrude and Hamlet, with focus on language.

    4 star(s)

    with her saying 'I shall obey my lord' whereas at the end of Laertes' advice, she light-heartedly warns him to follow his own advice. This is a typical example of the relationships between father and daughter found in the Elizabethan era.

  2. Critical review of 'Hamlet'

    He compares his love to that of 'forty thousand brothers' and in his declaration of love, smashes Laertes' down. It provides him with the feeling that he is higher than Laertes and will help him fulfil his mission with such positive thought.

  1. Scene by Scene - Hamlet.

    (Even the more fortunate dead returning to earth are "fat weeds".) He then reveals that he was murdered by Claudius, who had been having sex with, or at least was interested in, the queen. Claudius poured poison in his ear.

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

    seek revenge would be his only focus, without the distraction of "baser matter". Hamlet's duty as a son is shown clearly at this point where he accepts the ghost's words, be it from fear or loyalty, and he appears to decide that he must fulfil his duty and kill Claudius.

  1. Discuss the atmosphere created at the beginning of the play. What is its relevance ...

    The soliloquy allows us to see that Hamlet feels that his mother has let him and his father down. It is also through this soliloquy that we see Hamlet's, Oedipus complex kick in for he begins to compare his father to Claudius and then himself to Claudius, "...married with my

  2. In Act two, everyone notices a change in Hamlet because he has began his ...

    There is sense in such words since princes could only marry princesses and Ophelia was just a daughter of a king's counselor. This opinion is supported by her father Polonius as well. She is forced to choose between Hamlet and her father and her conscience tells her to obey her father rather than to follow her heart.

  1. Explore the thoughts and feelings of Hamlet and Claudius in Act 2 Scene 1.

    He makes out that its important to people that there is a ruler and he is just that. The 'sudden' loss of his brother has given him the advantage that he can invade Norway. He seems to get annoyed when he talks of Fortinbras, because Fortinbras is threatening the state and his political position.

  2. Criticism on Hamlet

    The conduct is perhaps not wholly secure against objections. The action is indeed for the most part in continual progression, but there are some scenes which neither forward nor retard it. Of the feigned madness of Hamlet there appears no adequate cause, for he does nothing which he might not have done with the reputation of sanity.

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