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Analyse in detail Hamlet’s first soliloquy. Discuss how it reveals his confused state of mind.

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Introduction

Iain Lill Analyse in detail Hamlet's first soliloquy. Discuss how it reveals his confused state of mind. Hamlet's first soliloquy is concerning his mother's seeming lack of mourning for his father and her desire to wed Hamlet's uncle in such a short space of time after his death. The first lines reveal the feelings within himself. His "sullied flesh" describes himself as impure flesh, primarily because he is human, but also because he is of the same flesh as his mother in a physical sense. He wishes upon himself death, that his "flesh would melt,". The metaphor of melting as dew is an indication of his will of complete bodily destruction. There is no thought of a recovery to his normal state of mind here, Hamlet only wishes to be free of his body, with it's despair and bad emotions, and to be either elevated above it or even below it. The fact that he doesn't care whether he is up or down shows he is not thinking of the consequences of his actions, whatever they may be. ...read more.

Middle

Lines 137 to 146 give a little history of his queen and his dead father, sprinkled with metaphors. He compares his uncle to his father as a god compared to a wild beast: "Hyperion to a satyr," and describes how the dead king loved his wife so much, he would not allow the wind to blow on her too hard. But Hamlet compares this love to that of the queen herself, which is more lust than love. In lines 145 to 151 Hamlet uses the metaphor of shoes to describe the speed at which his mother married after the funeral. "A little month, or ere those shoes were old... she... married, My father's brother". This is saying that the shoes she wore at the funeral were not worn by the time she wore them for the wedding. In the middle of this section Hamlet pauses to consider that an animal incapable of rational thought would have mourned longer. Hamlet has some serious issues about the speed at which his mother moved on and this reveals his confused state. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is returning to Hamlet's anger about his mother speed at marrying uncle. The entire speech is centred around the fact that Hamlet is extremely distraught at the speed at which his mother married. This is strange as it would be more likely that Hamlet would be angry at his uncle for taking the throne from him, when it should have passed to him as his birthright. This shows he is not thinking completely straight after the shock of his father's death. His speech illustrates his confused state of mind by jumping about from thought to thought, although still carrying the continuing theme of his mother's re-marriage. Throughout the speech it would be more logical for Hamlet to be plotting his revenge, but he seems more concerned analysing his mother's problems. In a context other than a soliloquy it might be reasonable to assume that he was speaking to cover his true intent, but seeing as the written soliloquy is personal, not directed at another character, Hamlet is obviously in a state of some mental distress, and very confused. ...read more.

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