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

Hamlet's Key soliloquies

Extracts from this document...


Hamlet's Key soliloquies The purpose of a soliloquy is to outline the thoughts and feelings of a certain character at a point in the play. It reveals their innermost beliefs and offers an unbiased perspective said to themselves and not to any other characters that may cause them to withhold their true opinions. The character of Hamlet is very intriguing; without soliloquies Shakespeare would be unable to give the audience such an insight into his personality and motivations - They play a key role in making Hamlet Prince of Denmark a notoriously famous and well appreciated play. The three soliloquies I am going to explore are Act 1 Scene 2, Act 2 Scene 2, and Act 3 Scene 1. Hamlet's passionate first soliloquy (Act 1, Scene 2) is essential to the play as it highlights his inner conflict caused by the events of the play. It reveals his true feelings and provides a striking contrast to the controlled and artificial dialogue that he must exchange with Claudius as previously seen. Hamlet begins the soliloquy with a very dramatic and shocking debate on whether to take his own life: 'O that this too too solid flesh would melt...Or that the everlasting had not fixed his canon 'gainst self slaughter."(1.2.129-132) It gives us an insight as to the importance given to religion and the idea of h**l-one of the key themes throughout the play. ...read more.


In a disjointed outpouring of disgust, anger, sorrow, and grief, Hamlet explains that, without exception, everything in his world is either useless or disgraceful. ******** In addition to revealing Hamlet's plot to catch the king in his guilt, Hamlet's second soliloquy (Act 2, Scene 2) uncovers the very essence of Hamlet's true conflict. For he is undeniably committed to seeking revenge for his father, yet he cannot act on behalf of his father due to his revulsion toward extracting that cold and calculating revenge. The key theme to the second soliloquy is of Hamlet procrastinating and failing to take revenge for his father's death. He is upset because he is unable to show the passion in real life that the player can show on stage. "This player here ...Could force his soul so to his own conceit...Tears in his eyes, distractions in's aspect" He can't believe that an actor can show anger and even cry for a fictitious event when he can't, despite all his reasons to show these emotions. Determined to convince himself to carry out the premeditated murder of his uncle, Hamlet works himself into a frenzy: "b****y, bawdy villain! /Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindles villain! /Oh Vengeance! (2.2.531-532)" He hopes that his passions will halt his better judgement and he will then be able to charge forth and kill Claudius without hesitation. ...read more.


He knows that the answer would be undoubtedly "yes" if death were like a dreamless sleep. "But the dread of something after death, / the undiscovered country from whose born/ no traveller returns." (3.1.77-79) Hamlet faces the fear of what happens after death. Since Hamlet has already encountered his father's ghost, and thus proof of the afterlife, this line has raised much debate. Some theories debate that the line is a mistake, or that the entire soliloquy is in the wrong place, and should be before Hamlet has met the ghost. Others argue he is referring only to human beings returning in the flesh and not as mere shadows of their previous selves. The major question 'To be or not to be' is believed by some to be a question of whether Hamlet should take his own life. The argument put against this view is that Hamlet never specifically uses 'I', he is actually pondering the worth of human existence as a whole. Both alternatives would have been shocking to the deeply religious Elizabethan audience. Hamlets mood is much calmer, again he is procrastinating by waiting for the play to expose Claudius' guilt- Hamlet is the thinker, not the doer. It is perhaps the most disturbing form of melancholy Hamlet has displayed because he remains calm, and collected throughout. His thoughts on suicide are not over-dramatised as in previous soliloquies. The soliloquy as a whole then is an exercise in bitter irony. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level 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 AS and A Level Hamlet essays

  1. Discussing Hamlets desire for vengeance.

    And this ambiguity is the key to its dramatic power, reinforcing the mysterious atmosphere of the play (Brodwin, L., 1964: 129). As Goldman (2001: 19) says, "in this paradigmatically modern play, the Ghost hearkens back to the late medieval world of magic and superstition, the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory, as well as the generic conventions of the Elizabethan revenge tragedy".

  2. Hamlet's soliloquies are embarrassingly outdated and unnecessary" "The soliloquies are what make the play. ...

    With regards to making the play, Hamlet's soliloquies do incorporate many of the themes and issues of the play; they talk about depression, betrayal, loss, love and loyalty and they are focused around Hamlet, the pivotal character in the play and therefore hold relevant to the play.

  1. With special reference to the main soliloquies, trace the development of Hamlet's character in ...

    Overall in the second soliloquy Hamlet goes from being someone who is angry, depressed, self critical and a coward due to his father's death and seeing his ghost to someone who is cunning and logical as he is capable of producing a play as a way of getting Claudius to confess his crimes.

  2. An exploration of the ways in whichShakespeare presents Hamlet's changing thoughts and feelings in ...

    He cannot believe that the 'tears in [the players] eyes' and his 'broken voice' can be caused only by imagination, 'all for nothing.' The short lines Shakespeare uses not only break up Hamlet's thoughts, but also show the strength of his feelings.

  1. 'Hamlet has been read by critics as dramatically presenting a misfit in a politically ...

    'I'll loose my daughter to him. Be you and I behind the arras then, Mark the encounter'11. Polonius, like the authoritarian father he is, he demands ultimate obedience from Ophelia with no regards to her feelings.

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

    He says that the world is "weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable". Stating that he thinks of life as nothing else but tedious and foul, which causes one to assume that he believes that it is better to die then live a life full of pain and agony.

  1. 'By Examination of Hamlet's Soliloquies, Explore some of the Challenges and Opportunities likely to

    These definite thoughts enter his head very early on in the play, and rhetorical questions are used to highlight his mental instability. Hamlet also demeans and shows his general disgust about women, which is apparent in the way he makes judgements about his mother, using the derogatory comment 'Frailty, thy

  2. Criticism on Hamlet

    is invariably a profusion of punning invective, whence, perhaps, nicknames have in a considerable degree sprung up; - or it is the language of suppressed passion, and especially of a hardly smothered personal dislike. The first, and last of these combine in Hamlet's case; and I have little doubt that

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