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

Without soliloquies we have little understanding of Hamlet's state of mind. Do you agree?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Without soliloquies we have little understanding of Hamlet's state of mind. Do you agree? The term 'soliloquy,' when defined in literary terms, is described as 'a dramatic convention which allows a character in a play to speak directly to the audience about his motives, feelings and decisions as if he were thinking aloud. Part of the convention is that a soliloquy provides accurate access to the character's innermost thoughts: we learn more about the character than could ever be gathered from the actions of the play.' Therefore, by definition, we have a considerably weaker understanding of a text without soliloquies. Soliloquies played a major part in many Elizabethan plays as they served as a useful narration device for the audience and gave them a clear insight into the character's feelings, motivation and reasons behind their actions at a specific point in a play. They also give the audience an idea of what the character may be doing later in the play as their future actions are also outlined in their soliloquies. It can also be noted that soliloquies take the format of the character's line of thought, which furthers our understanding of the character's mindset. ...read more.

Middle

Not a word is wasted; every syllable and each sound expresses the depth of reflection and the intensity of his emotion. The soliloquies are, in effect, the hidden plot of the play because, if one puts them side-by-side, one notices that the character of Hamlet goes through a development, again enriching our understanding. By comprehending the developments in Hamlet's character, we can understand the developments in the plot. After reading Hamlet, it is clear that in this 'Shakespearian 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 the essential greater insight into Hamlet's true character. They are all centred on the most 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.' ...read more.

Conclusion

The first soliloquy gives the audience a picture of Hamlet's thoughts at this point in the play; although his depression and mourning are made clear earlier by his black attire etc, the audience is not made aware of the reasons behind his mourning, such as his hatred of his uncle and belief that his mother had betrayed his father. Significantly, Hamlet also gives us a brief background of events leading up to the beginning of the play. Hamlet also lets the audience know his dilemmas and the fact he must 'hold his tongue' and speak his grief. Again, without this soliloquy, we could be led to think that Hamlet is a nondescript character without particularly strong feelings. With the aid of this soliloquy we know his feelings on all the issues facing him, we know the cause of his silence, adding to our impression of him as a character. In conclusion, I agree with the statement entirely; Hamlet's soliloquies are of fundamental importance in establishing, developing, and consolidating our understanding. The soliloquies are our only way of really understanding Hamlet's true state of mind, and therefore our only way of truly understanding the play. Without them, Hamlet lacks the rudiments which have ensured that its brilliance goes down in history as one of Shakespeare's finest pieces. Charlie Matthews 12CAS 09/05/2007 1 of 3 ...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)

    The dramatic imagery is extended further; 'Now I can drink hot blood'. Hamlet here is displaying his anger and is building himself up to kill Claudius; he wants to awaken his spirit and commit his lengthened vengeance. This is a major development in Hamlet's character and the audience will surely

  2. Marked by a teacher

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

    4 star(s)

    Especially the way, even when u read them, they make u spit them out. It is though they are disgusting, poisoned, and almost shameful. These words are said as hamlet is questioning about how he does nothing to avenge his father.

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

    He also remembers how great his father was and contrasts him with Claudius. It is worth noting that in this initial mood of violent passion Hamlet expresses complete confidence in the ghost as he says to Horatio, 'It is an honest ghost.'

  2. 'Hamlet is primarily a personal rather than a political tragedy' - To what extent ...

    Hamlet encounters Fortinbras leading his army across Denmark to fight for some land 'that hath in it no profit but the name' and feels shame at his lack of action. Putting his situation into perspective, he tries to commit to revenge, but in reality Hamlet is not the type of hero to sacrifice lives 'for an eggshell'.

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

    Gertrude was meant to be a role model figure for Ophelia, yet she did not deliver. Therefore, she could be seen as having a small amount of impact on Ophelia's sanity, due to the fact that Gertrude abandoned Ophelia and didn't help her out, when she needed female advice.

  2. Hamlet & Madness

    Later, as Hamlet is speaking to Guildenstern, he makes the analogy that he is "but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw" (Act II, scene II, lines 408-410), again indicating that he is only shamming insanity.

  1. Hamlet - plot outline and the soliloquies.

    Question 5 Hamlet expresses his views through a soliloquy which is full of decorative language. The character Hamlet continues his miserable behavior throughout the soliloquy. The feelings are expressed in the soliloquy, which reveals the Hamlet's true thoughts because it is a speech of his thoughts from inside his heart.

  2. An investigation into the ways in which the language and subject matter of Hamlet's ...

    Life is not what it used to be like in the past. "Fie on't, ah fie, 'tis an unweeded garden" The weed in an unweeded garden will grow and spread rapidly; it will multiply and therefore kill everything that is beautiful in the garden.

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