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

What do Hamlet's soliloquies reveal about his state of mind and how do they relate to the audience?

Extracts from this document...


MEGAN MCCLUSKIE ADVANCED HIGHER ENLGISH ESSAY WHAT DO HAMLET'S SOLILOQUIES REVEAL ABOUT HIS STATE OF MIND AND HOW DO THEY RELATE TO THE AUDIENCE? After reading 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare it is clear that in this 'Shakespearean tragedy' the soliloquies are particularly important because in the atmosphere of spying and intrigue where Hamlet constantly has to watch what he says, and in his assumed madness, it is only when he is alone that we can hope to learn his true feelings. In total, there are seven of Hamlet's soliloquies, each providing the reader with a greater insight into Hamlet's true character. They are all centred on the most important existential themes: the emptiness of suicide, death, suffering, action, a fear of death which puts off the most momentous decisions, the fear of the beyond, the degradation of flesh, the triumph of vice over virtue, the pride and hypocrisy of humans, and the difficulty of acting under thought which 'makes cowards of us all.' Four of his soliloquies deserve our special attention: 'O that this too sullied flesh would melt',(Act One, Scene Two) 'O what a rogue and peasant slave am I!', (Act Two; Scene Two) 'To be, or not to be, that is the question', (Act Three; Scene One) and 'How all occasions do inform against me.' ...read more.


He cannot understand the lack of taste she displayed in choosing Claudius, who, he feels cannot compete with his father. He expresses a sense of disgust with his mother and with women in general: 'frailty, thy name is woman.' He is hurt and miserable, and has to keep quite. His grief clearly goes beyond 'normal' mourning for a loved one. This soliloquy also hints at even at this stage Hamlet may not find avenging his father's death an easy task. When he says 'And shall I couple hell?' (Act One; scene five; line 93) perhaps Hamlet is aware of the enormity of the task and of the awesome implications of involvement with evil. When he says, 'O cursed spite That ever I was born to set it right,' he seems to be experiencing unease and a sense of reluctance. Hamlet's attitude is different in 'To be, or not to be,' from that of his first soliloquy. He asks himself about death beyond religious considerations; the nature of his dilemma has changed. This soliloquy, probably the most famous speech in the English language, is spoken by Hamlet in Act Three; Scene One .This contains Shakespeares' most logical and powerful examination of the theme of the moral legitimacy of suicide in an unbearably painful world, and it touches on several of the other important themes of the play. ...read more.


This reveals that Hamlet is in fact not as mad as he appears. In this soliloquy, Hamlet's language is stamped with relentless change in tone, the peaks of rage inter-cut with short moments of profound depression or of incredulous questioning. Hamlet comments on the way the actor seemed moved by his lines, whereas he, with a very real cause for grief, can say nothing. Hamlet blames himself for not yet having taken revenge for his father's murder. He calls himself a coward for making use of words, not deeds: "Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell, Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words." (Act two; scene two, lines 591-592). In conclusion, the soliloquies reveal Hamlet's true state of mind. Throughout these soliloquies the audience relates to Hamlet and we believe we are witnessing Hamlet's true feelings. When Hamlet is left alone, he expresses a variety of attitudes to death and at different times in the play his moods range from intense fear of the unknown to seeing death as a welcome release from the agonies and injustices of life. Also, during these soliloquies we learn about Hamlet's mood of despair and frustration at avenging his father's death. We also see his thoughts on the conscience, which prolongs him in killing his father's murderer, although his desire to never fades. Through the soliloquies we form a rapport with Hamlet and discover his true state of mind. ...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)

    At this stage, the audience's mood and the atmosphere is created by eerie language such as 'strange', 'foul' and 'unnatural'. Hamlet, understandably, is in immense shock, 'Hold, hold, my heart', after what the ghost has just told him. With this use of alliteration, Hamlet is trying to keep himself together.

  2. Marked by a teacher

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

    4 star(s)

    In addition, this over explanation dramatises these two characters. Also this makes King Hamlet almost seem like a God, and as for Claudius well he is seen as a servant (compared to his father). This suggests that King Hamlet will always be superior to Claudius, even in death. We, the audience, can also see that these are Hamlets true

  1. Ophelia Essay

    She is totally different from the other characters. Hamlet, Gertrude, Claudius, Polonious and Laertes all seem to know what they want from life. Ophelia has a 'floating existence' which cuts her off from the time boundaries of everyday life. This adds to her sense of innocence. Ophelia seems to have a lack of self respect.

  2. Hamlet Coursework: Is Hamlet alone responsible for Ophelias death? - WJEC English Lit. ...

    The cruel way Hamlet told her that he didn't love her will have made her feel used, and made a mockery of. All of these emotions pent up inside of Ophelia, with no-one to talk to will have made her mad in the head as she has been left to deal with all these feelings alone.

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

    He is a coward because he has not killed Claudius. However he knows his 'conscience' is the why he is not being able to do it. As a human he knows that he has the ability to reason. Hamlet begins the final soliloquy with the line 'How all occasions do inform against me'.

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

    Hamlet has separated himself from others and his country, and he is merely thinking of himself: "Must I remember?" This rhetorical question would implicate to the audience that Hamlet is reflecting on his own situations. As this soliloquy does include aspects of Christianity, it does involve and relate to the audience well.

  1. Explore Shakespeare's presentation of Hamlet, his moods and motivations, through his soliloquies in Act ...

    What would he do, Had he the motive and the cue for passion That I have?..." However, Shakespeare also uses this soliloquy to present Hamlet's major flaw to the audience: his procrastination. The line beginning "...Yet I..." disturbs the regular rhythm of the soliloquy because Hamlet's mind is at its

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

    For example Hamlet says that if it wasn't for religion that he would commit suicide. This tells us two things about Hamlet; one being that Hamlet feels suicidal and secondly that he is a religious person. Between the first and fourth soliloquy a lot of things cause a change in

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