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Claudius soliloquy Hamlet

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Act 3, scene 3 This is Claudius's soliloquy. At this point in the play, Claudius has just seen the play replicating the murder of his own brother. He realizes that Hamlet has found out the truth, and is shocked by it. He quickly stops the play and rush out to his chapel where he begins his soliloquy. This soliloquy is a fail attempt to pray and receive redemption from god. Claudius tries desperately to pray to god. Even though he realizes that "Pray can I not," syntax here is used to emphasize the word pray, he doesn't give up and ask "is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens to wash it white as snow?" The rhetorical question reveals his desperation as although he already knows the answer, he is willing to try and ask god for help. The tone here is pleading. This is his attempt to question god and ask for redemption. Additionally, the used of the word "snow" which symbolizes purity juxtaposes his act of "a brother's murder". Similarly, the colour "white" also opposes the colour of blood. Moreover, his choice of words of the "sweet heaven" may be interpret as an attempt to bribe god, therefore revealing his desperation and despair, emphasizing the seriousness of the crime he's committed. ...read more.


The use of personal pronoun in this soliloquy also contrasts with Hamlet's soliloquy whereby generalizing his ideas, making his thought universal. Claudius concerns for himself is further supported by the list of triad of "my crown, mine own ambition and my queen." This is self revealing irony as the order from this list is that the crown comes before anything else. Claudius knows that he is corrupted such that his "bosom [is] black as death." The simile here helps to convey the darkness of his heart, while the alliteration of the plosive 'B' helps to emphasize the corruption in himself. Claudius tone shifts throughout the play. His ideas vacillate as his tone oscillates. This soliloquy is firstly started with a feeling of despair and at this point, his language is controlled and slowly paced. However as Claudius continues, the pace quickened and ultimately by the end, there are many short sentences with exclamations conveying his panic and fear. Although there are times when he genuinely wishes for redemption, he sometimes shift the tone immediately, such as in the middle of his soliloquy where he suddenly says "then I'll look up." The change in tone suggests Claudius's confusion towards his next move. The word "look up" which opposes to the looking down of praying, helps to support the sentence "my stronger guilt defeats my strong intent." ...read more.


Moreover, the word "world" implies that it wasn't only him, and therefore suggests that it is not entirely his fault. In addition, the line "offence's gilded hand may shove by justice buys out the law" reveals the human condition where rich people are able to bribe their ways out of their crime. Another theme presents in this soliloquy is the religion and justice. As king symbolizes the person who is closest to god, the act of regicide is as a result an act against god. Therefore, in the beginning Claudius says that "my offence is rank, it smells to heaven." Furthermore, Claudius also refers his act to the "primal eldest curse upon't a brother's murder." The biblical allusion to the 1st murder of the bible of Able and Kain are used to help abrogate his responsibility for his own murder. Additionally, it is suggested that although the world is corrupt such that people can "buys out the law", ultimately, in heaven "there is no shuffling" and therefore everybody will be judged equally, thus the theme of justice. Essentially, Claudius's soliloquy reveals his greed. At the surface, he may seems to have shown regret towards his action, however, ultimately, the audience will realize that his desperate attempt to pray is a result from fear of getting caught. ...read more.

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