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Hamlet commentary

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Introduction

IB English SL IOC First Draft Internal Conflict within Hamlet through the first soliloquy The extract from line 129-159, Act 1 Scene 2 of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, forms to be the first soliloquy of the drama and therefore appears in the beginning of the play. A soliloquy is a literary technique where the character is left alone on the stage and is able to express his thoughts clearly and directly. This technique enhances the text and succinctly yet powerfully exposes the mental compositions of the character, as in this soliloquy, Hamlet's conflict over his contemplation of suicide. In addition to his internal conflicts, the soliloquy highlights important relationships such as between Hamlet, Gertrude and Claudius as well as bringing out the cultural setting of the drama, which consists of differences between the medieval and the renaissance era. This is the first soliloquy of Hamlet in the drama, and is therefore an essential tool in the introduction of Hamlet's character as well as foreshadowing certain important themes which are going to be portrayed as the drama progresses. Since dramas did not include any narrators, soliloquies were the medium through which the writer could show insight into a character's mind. Through the first soliloquy, Shakespeare has shown Hamlet's contemplative character, due to all the thinking he does, such as thoughts about suicide and its consequences based on religious ideals. ...read more.

Middle

The first soliloquy also plays an important role in presenting the state of the important relationships which existed in the drama. One of the prominent relationships highlighted in the first soliloquy is that of Hamlet and Gertrude. Gertrude is not shown to be neither a stereotypical queen nor a stereotypical mother, who would mourn in grief of her husband's death as well as taking care of, supporting and consoling her son after his father's death. Her character is shown to be a moderately corrupt character as she gets married to her husband's brother within two months of her husband's death, irrespective of this being unapproved by her son. This very well shows her unsupportive and uncaring behaviour. Her marriage to Claudius changes Hamlet's perspective about Gertrude and Elder Hamlet's Relationship as well. Hamlet knew that his father is deeply in love with Gertrude and would go to any extremes for her protection "so loving to my mother, That he might not be teem the winds of heaven; Visit her face too roughly". After his father's death, he observed his mother's mourning where she wept like Niobe, a mythological tragedy wherein a woman turned into a stone fountain due to her excessive weeping "With which she followed my poor father's body; Like Niobe, all tears.". However, Hamlet then hints that his mother's sorrow and tears were all fake since she soon forgot all the sorrow and mourning for Elder Hamlet and married Claudius. ...read more.

Conclusion

The King and Queen are role models for the common people and therefore should be a symbol of their culture and truth, however it is also suggested that their marriage is incestuous "With such dexterity to incestuous sheets". By using this in Hamlet's first soliloquy, Shakespeare has used conflict with the Elizabethan culture, which disapproved of incest, to show the negative characters of Claudius and Gertrude along with highlighting the fact that this newly wed couple will go against the culture. The line "It is not, nor it cannot come to good" used by Hamlet in his first soliloquy show that Hamlet considers this marriage as an evil omen towards Denmark. This line also foreshadows that this marriage is an event that will in some way cause turmoil and chaos in the drama. All of these thoughts that Hamlet comes across are expressed in the form of a soliloquy simply because Shakespeare wanted the audience to understand that in spite of Hamlet being the central character of the drama, he could not express his views and opinions in front of everyone due to socio-cultural constraints such as his negative ideas towards Claudius could not be expressed publicly because Claudius was the King and his step father. Therefore Shakespeare has been able to convey certain important themes, relationships as well as insights of the central character, Hamlet in a very appropriate and clever way, i.e. through the first soliloquy. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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