How do Hamlet’s Soliloquies reveal his Changing thoughts and Moods throughout the play?
The play Hamlet is basically about life and death. We see this through the character Hamlet. Hamlet’s character is not one dimensional, their are many sides to his personality. We can tell this by the way his mood varies throughout the play. Only in the soliloquies does Hamlet reveal his true self, and we ‘the audience’ begin to develop a better understanding of his complex character. A soliloquy is a speech in which a character (in this case Hamlet) reveals to the audience his thoughts and feelings which he is unable to express to other characters in the play. So in other words, soliloquies give a voice to Hamlet’s thoughts. This is why soliloquies are so important, because a character can express his most inner thoughts with out judgement from fellow characters in the play. The three soliloquies I have studies are like signposts in the play. They guide us through Hamlet’s mind at different points in the play. The main focus of my analysis will be on different actor’s interpretations of this play, as well as the actual content and language of these three different soliloquies.
The first soliloquy I am studying is in act one scene two. In this first soliloquy Hamlet talks about how if it wasn’t for god’s laws (sixth commandment, a religious law), he would committee suicide. This is due to the world at war, his deceased father, and how his mother has remarried.
“O, this too too solid flesh would melt……..his canon ‘gainst self-slaughter.”
Hamlet continues to tell ‘us’, the audience, about how he is irritated (or you could even say maddened) with life and how purposeless everything in this world seems to be.
“…weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable Seems to me all the uses of this world!”
As well as how the world is corrupt. He expresses this by comparing his immediate world to a garden overrun, polluted by foul-smelling weeds.
“….’tis an unweeded garden that grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature posses it merely.”
Hamlet is not really mourning his father’s death in this soliloquy, but he is infuriated with his mother for remarrying his uncle so soon after his father’s death.
“That is should come to this! But two months dead- nay not so much, not so excellent a King…….”
After this Hamlet continues to explain how nothing can happen to make this situation any better. But this does not mean Hamlet will do nothing, and accept everything. This is not good enough for Hamlet, something has to be done. The audience is drawn to feel this way because we can tell Hamlet is a clever man (we can tell this by the way Hamlet contemplates situations, which he sees as wrong, in his mind e.g. his mother remarriage. Also Hamlet is clever enough to keep his thoughts to himself hence he only expresses his feelings in soliloquies).
Hamlet also compares his father and uncle. The way Hamlet does this is by comparing them as a ‘Hyperion to a satyr’. This comparison of the two men makes his father sound grand, powerful, beautiful and as a mythical creature. Therefore suggests that Hamlet feels that his deceased father is the rightful king, and Claudius is inferior to the King Hamlet. This also seems that this is the only way Hamlet can talk about his father compared to Claudius. In addition, this over explanation dramatises these two characters. Also this makes King Hamlet almost seem like a God, and as for Claudius well he is seen as a servant (compared to his father). This suggests that King Hamlet will always be superior to Claudius, even in death.