Comparison of Hamlet Soliloquies

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Contrast and comparison of two of Hamlet’s Soliloquies

Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ presents us with many apparent elements that are expressed through various mediums. One of the most effective mediums is the use of soliloquies. This journal entry will breakdown the first and last soliloquies delivered by Hamlet and denote there meanings whilst contrasting and comparing them.  

In regards to the soliloquies it is evident that they are both significant to the play and progress of the characters. It is evident that these two soliloquies add importance to the progression of the play as they deliver differing situations in the play. Shakespeare uses each soliloquy as a philosophical analysis that introduces upcoming themes and happenings. They allow foreshadowing to take place in order for the audience to understand the crucial events that will ultimately follow. For example in the first soliloquy, Hamlet establishes strong thoughts about death, both of his father and suicide. It is also later revealed that Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius, has married his mother. Through this soliloquy, Shakespeare incorporates immense depth to the character of Hamlet as well as the other main characters. It enables the audience to understand Hamlet’s stance and further insight into his thought patterns in regards to death, suicide and duty to God and family. “Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d his cannon ‘gainst self-slaughter”. In contrast to this, the fourth act and Hamlet’s last soliloquy it is evident that the audience is aware of Hamlet’s true motivations which thus result in the final events of the play. The last soliloquy has been preceded by the unveiling of Claudius’ plan to kill Hamlet in England and is used by Shakespeare to portray how Hamlet has changed thus his reasoning has formed a new rational Hamlet. “Thaw and resolve itself into a dew! Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d” This part of the first soliloquy is compared to “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will,” and it is evident   that there was abandonment of God/Heaven/Hell and a now a realization that they do exists with God having a master plan that we all subconsciously abide by.

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One of the major changes in Hamlet’s character (which is suggested by the language used in the first and final soliloquies by Hamlet) is the ostensible spirituality of the character. In contrast to Hamlet’s final soliloquy, Hamlet’s first implies an impactual spiritual/religious assurance. As seen in the third line, Hamlet concedes that there is an “everlasting”, whose laws condemn suicide as a sin. “Or that the everlasting had not fix’d he’s canon ‘gainst self-slaughter.” In addition this soliloquy has many mythological references, for example the comparison between his father and the sun God Hyperion. Not only do these references ...

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