An investigation into the ways in which the language and subject matter of Hamlet's three soliloquies reveal the key concerns of the play.

Authors Avatar

An investigation into the ways in which the language and subject matter of Hamlet’s three soliloquies reveal the key concerns of the play.

The play ‘Hamlet’ is one of Shakespeare’s most tragic plays. The play consists of

different themes. A main theme in the play is how mad the character Hamlet is and how

his madness is presented to the audience.  Another interesting theme is

Hamlet's obsession with death, as Hamlet repeatedly refers to death on several occasions.

The theme of the Oedipus complex appears at the beginning of the play where as the

revenge tragedy occurs further on in the play, when Hamlet is told by the ghost of his

father, that his father was murdered by his uncle.

        A major theme in the play is madness, as two characters seem to suffer from it;

Ophelia and prince Hamlet. Hamlet appears to be mad, because of his father's death and

his mother's indecent rushed marriage to his uncle. We do not know however, whether

Hamlet is truly mad, as he warns his good friend Horatio that he will pretend to be mad

and to put on "an antic disposition." Hence, Hamlet is putting on this act of madness so

that he can carry out the instructions given to him by his father's ghost, who declared that

he was murdered by the prince's own uncle. His father to therefore assigns hamlet

avenge his murder.  

In the patriarchal society in which Ophelia lives, the men are responsible for their

women and therefore dominate them, for example; a father dominates his wife and

daughter, and a brother dominates his sister. Ophelia's madness mainly occurs because

there is no man in her life to dominate her, or rather because too many men have tried

to dominate her, but then all the men suddenly left her. Hamlet

presented her to the audience more of an object than a human being. Her brother often

lectures her, seeking to control her sexuality and her father uses her to spy on Hamlet

like a farm yard animal

"I'll lose my daughter to him."

Ophelia's father is accidentally killed by Hamlet; her brother leaves Denmark to go to

France and prince Hamlet is so busy with his own act of madness and avenging his

father's murder, that he ends his relationship with Ophelia. Ophelia therefore has no man

in her life to dominate her, which drives her to craziness as she is not used to doing

things independently.

In the Elizabethan times, revenge tragedies were hugely popular. ‘Hamlet’

included the main theme of tragedy. Elizabethan revenge tragedies contained typical

components such as a melancholy hero, who is a typical revenge hero, a hesitating

avenger, a villain, some sexual obsession and complex plotting.

        The play ‘Hamlet’ contains many elements of the Elizabethan revenge tragedy.

There are three characters that seek revenge for their father’s death. Young Fortinbras

seeks revenge for his father’s death, which old king Hamlet's doings caused, Laertes

swears to take revenge for both his father’s and sister’s death by killing Hamlet, and

finally Hamlet vows to take revenge for his father by killing Claudius. At the end of

the play, all three characters get their revenge.

Shakespeare uses soliloquies so that Hamlet can share with the audience his true

Join now!

feelings which he could not voice in public otherwise. A soliloquy is used for the benefit

of the audience as it is a dramatic device which enables the audience to get a deep insight

into the true thoughts and feelings of the character, as well as get a better understanding

of Hamlet's motives.

In Act1, Scene 2 Hamlet delivers his first soliloquy. He starts his soliloquy by

wishing to die;

"O that this too too solid flesh would melt"

Hamlet is hereby wishing that his skin would ...

This is a preview of the whole essay