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Analyse the ways in which Shakespeare uses the dramatic monologue to trace the development of Hamlets character

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Introduction

Analyse the ways in which Shakespeare uses the dramatic monologue to trace the development of Hamlet's character Throughout the course of the play we see Hamlet go through a variety of character developments. These have been particularly pronounced in the four soliloquies that we have studied, as we can judge the changes between his different states of mind more clearly. The first soliloquy appears in Act 1, Scene 2, shortly after the death of Hamlet's father and the remarriage of his mother to his uncle. In this scene we see Hamlet trying to grasp control of his situation however not really succeeding in his attempts. On the surface Hamlet appears to have accepted the situation but from the first few lines of the monologue we can tell that his mind is still in turmoil and that he is struggling for acceptance, 'O, that this too too solid flesh' to 'O God! God!' Shakespeare's use of metaphor also gives the impression that Hamlet is not entirely content with the situation, as he would lead others to believe. The use of phrases such as 'solid flesh would melt', 'thaw' and 'dew' indicate that Hamlet feels as though his emotions are frozen, most likely from shock about the situation he has found himself in where he no longer feels trusting of his own family. ...read more.

Middle

Hamlet thinks in this second speech that because he is a man of inaction he has become dull and all of the words he uses to describe himself are negative, 'rascal', 'muddy', 'rogue' and 'peasant slave'. Shakespeare also uses alliteration and lists in this soliloquy, combining both these techniques in the phrase 'bloody, bawdy villain'. The alliteration provides emphasis for the words and the fact that Hamlet still cannot refer to Claudius by name at this point in the play, maybe the reason partly being because he feels that by dehumanising him, it will make him easier to kill. Another example of Shakespeare's use of a list is in the phrase, 'remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindles villain!' This also emphasises all the negative words that Hamlet is calling Claudius, again along with the fact that he cannot refer to him by name. Towards the end of the soliloquy, Hamlet starts to become unsure of himself, as he starts to make excuses to support why he should not kill Claudius. This can be seen in 'I'll tent him to the quick' to 'abuses to damn me' when he is trying to convince himself that the ghost he saw was the devil, when his first opinion was that 'it was an honest ghost'. ...read more.

Conclusion

'to hide the slain' for no good reason, Hamlet decides that as he has more reason to kill Claudius he must be a weaker man for not taking action himself. The last two lines of this soliloquy are a sight rhyme, 'forth' and 'worth'. This indicates that although Hamlet is pretending everything is tolerable on the surface, deep down he does not believe this to be the case. Hamlet appears to have many of the same feelings and thoughts in the span of the four soliloquies and even in his dying words. In his final words, Hamlet says that 'the rest is silence', this is again talking about life after death and how no one is allowed to know what comes after death. It also shows that Hamlet is worrying about it right up until the moment he dies. Hamlet's state of mind is one of melancholy, despair and turbulence throughout the play, although in the fourth soliloquy he becomes more thoughtful and reflective, thinking more outside himself. This shows how he has grown throughout the play as a person, as he is thinking more of his own conscience and what he thinks is right than of the traditional view of the time about his father's revenge. Hamlet ...read more.

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