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

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

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

AS Hamlet Coursework Essay Q. What is the importance of the Soliloquies in Hamlet? Do they show any development of his character? A soliloquy is a dramatic speech spoken by a character who is alone on stage, or believes themselves to be alone. This device allows a character in a play to speak directly to the audience about their motives, feelings and decisions. They reveal the characters innermost thoughts and traditionally contain no lies or deception as the character is revealing their true thoughts and emotions. Hamlet's soliloquies give the impression of a man discovering himself as he speaks. The importance of the soliloquies in Hamlet are therefore crucial to the development of his character and of course the development of the play. Hamlet's first soliloquy in Act 1 Scene 2, reveals that Hamlet is depressed to such an extent that he does not wish to live; these feelings emerge following the death of his father and the indecent swiftness of the remarriage of his mother to his uncle and, the new King, Claudius. 'O that this too too solid flesh would melt , Thaw and resolve itself into a dew...' Act 1-2-129/130 The word 'too' is repeated to enhance the emphasis on what Hamlet is saying; here the prince wants to vanish, he wants his body to melt away which provides the audience with a weak initial portrayal of Hamlet's character. ...read more.

Middle

Hamlet's tone is much more philosophical in the fourth soliloquy in Act 3 Scene 1. Hamlet is not alone on stage in this soliloquy, Ophelia is present; Hamlet is unaware of her presence however, which is why it is still a soliloquy. The tone and therefore the development of Hamlet's true character are much calmer and reflective than its predecessors. I believe the main flaw in Hamlet's character as could be seen by the audience is his inability to control his emotions, his mind and his tendency to procrastinate over matter of importance and not take actions. However, in this soliloquy there is intelligence of Hamlet thinking through his problems without being sidetracked to revulsion which is a major development in his character up until this point. The opening line with the use of caesura, 'To be, or not to be', is showing the audience that Hamlet is again thinking of suicide. The metaphor in the line 'take arms against a sea of troubles / And by opposing end them', would create a violent image in the audience's minds. Hamlet is expressing that he feels that trying to set the world right would be like 'self-slaughter'. It detains his feelings of being imbalanced to the task that has been assigned to him. ...read more.

Conclusion

He compares Fortinbras to himself: 'How I stand then, That have a father killed, a mother stained...' Act 4-4-55/56 He believes that he has let his father die immorally and that his mother's reputation has been contaminated due to her marriage to Claudius. Hamlet's final words sound determined: 'O from this time forth, My thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth'. Act 4-4-65/66 Hamlet here seems to have reached a new level of realisation and it seems his revenge would take place imminently. However, the audience may feel this is ironic as so often have Hamlet's ineffective actions contradicted his words. Hamlet is a prince sworn to take revenge of his father's murder but it is not until the very end of the play that he finally manages to kill Claudius. Throughout his soliloquies he seems a confused Prince with an unbalanced mind and the assumption to why he kills Claudius in the end of the play rather than before, begins with Hamlet himself; he himself wonders if he is a coward. Hamlet's soliloquies are of immense importance as they show a large development in his character; from a bloodthirsty revenger and a self-critical performer, to a thoughtful academic. Hamlet's soliloquies are so effective that they view the mounting and changing thoughts of a character capable of ending the play so early when he first has reason to; maybe that is why Shakespeare chose to make his character an apparently weak-willed one. ?? ?? ?? ?? Priya Sethi Page 1 ...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

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This is a very good essay that considers the purpose and effects of the soliloquies and Hamlet's character. To increase the strength of analysis consider how links can be made between the soliloquies.

4 Stars

Marked by teacher Laura Gater 26/06/2013

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

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

    4 star(s)

    Hamlet is not really mourning his father's death in this soliloquy, but he is infuriated with his mother for remarrying his uncle so soon after his father's death. "That is should come to this! But two months dead- nay not so much, not so excellent a King......."

  2. Why does Hamlet delay his revenge?

    Why shouldn't Hamlet act on Gertrude if she too committed the same crime as Claudius? Maybe Hamlet should also 'leave Claudius to heaven'. Arguably, Hamlet's delay is because Shakespeare has to fulfill Hamlet's role as the 'tragic hero'.

  1. Discuss the dramatic significance of act one scene one of hamlet.

    Horatio is clearly expressing his apprehension and insecurity about the apparition feelings, which at the same time are shared by the audience. Fear may also be considered as another theme as the men's actions are at times motivated by there fears: "Shall I strike it with my partisan?"

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

    Nobody else on stage, is privy to the words Hamlet speaks: they are of the privilege of the audience. The soliloquies do nothing to develop relationships between Hamlet and the other protagonists, only between Hamlet and the audience. In addition, it is necessary to note, the soliloquies are Hamlet's true perception of what is taking place: his interpretation of events.

  1. Comparing Hamlet with Fortinbras

    for all we know may have little or no female influence, just does things without thinking about them, and also behaves quite violently - both stereotypical male traits. You get the sense that Gertrude and Hamlet were much closer before King Hamlet died, because after the death the swift marriage

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

    This shows the full extent of his character. Because of the tone of these soliloquies, we learn that he was never really a happy, carefree student, but someone who was a thinker and philosophiser. He is clearly an intellectual and well-educated.

  1. Hamlets dilemma - Why can't he act?

    A perfectly harmonious being consists of all four elements, all in equal portion. Hamlet has too much earth inside him, which makes him prone to feeling depressed. These repressed feelings further fuel Hamlet's inner turmoil and constant feelings of melancholia.

  2. Mighty opposites; Hamlet and Claudius.

    Arguably Hamlet thought more than needed and as a consequence took no action. The decision he makes is by putting his position above God as we acknowledge in the 'prayer scene'. Claudius is also a thinker. He is manipulative and knows how he should appear in his first speech.

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