The Revenge of Hamlet
Hamlet’s sixth soliloquy is full of irony, philosophy, and with the familiar subject of revenge. It reflects themes of the entire play, and it helped further my understanding of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Hamlet. The main character, in his second-to-last monologue reflects Claudius’ regret which is an obstacle to revenge. This barrier creates frustration for Hamlet, but also is a reason for further procrastination, which is usually Hamlet’s way out of a situation. The subject of the soliloquy is essentially that if Claudius is killed by Hamlet while praying, he will go to heaven. This situation is ironic because of Claudius’ secret inability to pray, and the irony is unknowingly reflected throughout Hamlet’s viewpoint of the situation. Hamlet’s philosophy is educated, but very ironic, as are many of the words and images that Hamlet uses. The characteristics of this soliloquy, the subject, irony, Hamlet’s procrastination and his philosophy are true reflections of the entire play, and that is why my understanding of the play developed and improved by examining the sixth soliloquy.
The subject of Hamlet’s sixth aside is very similar to his other six because of his inability to act upon his conviction. Hamlet is told to avenge his father’s unnatural murder knowing fully that this is his duty.“
”Revenge tragedy has long been recognized, on the one hand, for the speed with which it becomes virtually synonymous with stage misogyny and, on the other, for its generic and sometimes profound investment in recognizably Renaissance process of mourning- revenge, after all, is the private response to socially unaccommodated grief- but typically mourning and misogyny have been considered in isolation from one another, in separate studies and only insofar as the duplicate Renaissance habits of thought articulated elsewhere in medical or philosophical discourse.”(Mullaney)
However, throughout the play we discover his soft heart and often his inability to act. By this he is betraying his father’s command. This betrayal is more than evident in this soliloquy. His mind is tainted by the thought that if he were to avenge while Claudius is “praying”, Claudius would go to heaven. Essentially in this soliloquy, William Shakespeare reveals the moral problems associated with committing revenge in a corrupt world. Again, Hamlet finds a way to excuse himself from revenge.
“Since in Hamlet we are interested not merely in the outcome of a scene on overt action but also in the shape it will assume in Hamlet’s imagination, the Prayer scene really has two endings: Hamlet’s failure to kill the king, and Hamlet’s leaving the stage self-cast in the role of revenge villain.”(Gottschalk)
Irony is brought out in the plain and simple fact that Claudius’ only prayer is that “pray can I not, though inclination be as sharp as will, my stronger guilt defeats my strong intent”I(I.ii.38-40). These key words preceding Hamlet’s soliloquy go unheard by Hamlet and set...