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

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

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


'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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Hamlet essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    What is the importance of the Soliloquies in Hamlet? Do they show any development ...

    4 star(s)

    I believe the rhetorical question would make the audience feel he is a coward; furthermore when Hamlet describes himself as 'muddy-mettled', 'cowardly' and 'sluggish'. The audience will also feel that Hamlet's mind is at its most distracted when he thinks of himself and what he has failed to do.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    How do Hamlet's Soliloquies reveal his Changing thoughts and Moods throughout the play?

    4 star(s)

    and needs something to be done. The Mel Gibson version also starts about half way down the soliloquy. This is because half way down, in the soliloquy, Hamlet 'starts to get going' therefore gets more aggressive. Also Hamlets character is seen as more unpredictable as three quarters down the script, Hamlet does calm down.

  1. How does Hamlet's character develop during the play?

    We are arrant knaves all, believe none of us. This is a low view of all men. Ophelia's speech in Act 1, scene 1, shows us how Hamlet's character has changed. She says he was the ideal prince ("the expectancy and rose of the fair state")

  2. What do Hamlet's soliloquies reveal about his state of mind and how do they ...

    (Act One; Scene Five; line 142). The Hamlet of the first soliloquy is an outraged man who, disgusted by his 'sullied self', can see no outcome to his disgust other than death. To free himself from the grip of his flesh he must put an end to his life.

  1. Select two soliloquies from Hamlet and analyse their significance to the play as a ...

    When Hamlet is alone he expresses his disgust of his Mother, as she married his uncle within a month of his father's death. Hamlet is approached by Horatio, Marcellus and Barnardo. They explain to Hamlet about the ghost, and it leads Hamlet to believe that his father's death may not have resulted from natural causes: "I doubt some foul play".

  2. Hamlet. Throughout the play we see Hamlets state of mind through the presentation ...

    Losing control in the iambic pentameters shows us that even thought Hamlet is trying to control his feelings underneath he is a seething mass of emotions. In Hamlet's second soliloquy the tones of worthlessness and inadequacy are common and emphasize the dissatisfaction he feels with his actions, or lack of action.

  1. How does Shakespeare portray changes in Hamlets character in soliloquy one and four

    In my opinion this shows the beginning of Hamlets downward spiral of depression that is to come. Hamlet is metaphorically unaware of what is happening around him. His life is inconsistent and is easily seen to be getting too much for him.

  2. An analysis of the soliloquy in Hamlet

    preparation being made for war; Fortinbras is planning to regain the lands lost when King Hamlet killed his father. They agree to tell Hamlet about the ghost. We are next in the great hall of Elsinore Castle where Claudius (the late King's brother)

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