Soliloquy And Revenge In Hamlet Essay

721 words - 3 pages

Soliloquy and Revenge in Hamlet

    The soliloquy is a literary device that is employed to unconsciously reveal an actor's thoughts to the audience. In William Shakespeare's, Hamlet, Hamlet's soliloquy in Act II, ii, (576-634) depicts his arrival at a state of vengeful behaviour through an internal process. Hamlet moves through states of depression and procrastination as he is caught up in the aftermath of the murder of his father and the marriage of his mother to his uncle. The soliloquy serves to effectively illustrate the inner nature of Hamlet's character and develop the theme of revenge.


In the soliloquy, Hamlet's depression, due to his "dear father['s]" (612) murder and the incestuous family relationship, is revealed as he compares his situation to that of King Priam and Hecuba. The pain that the player feels, acting as the mythological King Priam symbolizes the loss that Hamlet experiences. Hamlet feels that he has enough cause to "drown the stage in tears." (589) Arising from Hamlet's depression comes a paralysis to act. By not acting upon the situation, Hamlet is "Like a John-a-dreams, unpregnant of [his] cause". (595) Even provocations to "Tweak [him] by the nose" (601) and "Pluck off [his] beard and blow it back in [his] face (600) are insufficient to prompt "[him] to [his] revenge" (613). He crystallizes his thoughts out of his "weakness and melancholy," (630) by likening himself to "a coward," (598) who is "pigeon-livered" (604) and is "A dull and muddy-mettled rascal"(594). Hamlet's prolonged pessimistic self-examination leads to his depressive state.


Hamlet's depression leads to anger. He expresses this as he states that he "Must, like a whore, unpack [his] heart with words/ and fall a-cursing like a very drab,/ a scullion!" (615-616) In the presence of his mother and uncle, Hamlet uses hollow words, as if from a whore whose interest is in payment for his or her services, while his heart is hurting and he "fall[s] a-cursing." (615) His internalized anger externalizes when he finally refers to his uncle as a "Bloody,...

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