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The Function Of Soliloquies Essay

1654 words - 7 pages

Shakespeare relies heavily on soliloquies to help the reader understand Prince Hamlet. Hamlet is often speaking out loud when he is by himself. This lets the reader know what Hamlet is actually thinking despite what he is telling others around him (Mittelstaedt 126-27). The majority of the soliloquies are moments when Hamlet is overwhelmed by emotion at his situation and deeply upset. Hamlet’s sadness is what the play revolves around. In the play, Hamlet is dealt hand after hand of misfortune by Lady Luck. If Hamlet were not upset, the story would not make sense (Bradley 107). Another aspect of Hamlet’s personality that powers the play is his mind. He is a deep thinker surrounded by shallow individuals, and his “extraordinary mind” lets him react differently to situations than the people around him (Soellner 176). In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the soliloquies offer a deeper look into Hamlet’s state of mind throughout the play.
Before the first soliloquy, Hamlet has come home from college to attend his father’s funeral and his mother, Gertrude’s, wedding. However, Gertrude has married the king’s brother Claudius, which was considered morally deplorable. He wishes that “…the Everlasting had not fixed/ His cannon ‘gainst self-slaughter” (1.2.135-36). Hamlet is overwrought by the situation. He used to admire his mother for how much she loved King Hamlet, but now he just sees her as a wanton woman in an incestuous marriage with a vile man that he despises. Above all else, Hamlet is shocked at his mother’s prompt remarriage, and he is disappointed that she would sink to such a low level (Bradley 104). In Hamlet’s opinion “…a beast that wants discourse of reason/ Would have mourned longer” (1.2. 155-56). Even though it is not considered much, Hamlet is an extremely Christian man. He sees all of the immoral behavior going on around him and is repulsed by it. Gertrude’s actions only help to highlight this. Hamlet sees the world as “…an unweeded garden/ That grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature/ Possess it merely” (1.2.138-40). However, Hamlet does not take into account all of the good people who surround him and support him. He is only focused on what is right in front of him and what is going wrong in his life. Therefore, Hamlet does not really give the reader a completely accurate picture of the world around him (Boklund 126). The first soliloquy immediately communicates to the reader that Hamlet does not approve of his mother’s marriage to his uncle and that if it were morally acceptable to commit suicide, he would be seriously contemplating it.
The third soliloquy takes place after a troop of actors arrives at Elsinore. Hamlet asks one of the actors to give a speech that he had heard once before. While performing this speech, the actor becomes extremely emotional. His voice starts breaking and he is crying during the performance. Hamlet is astounded that this actor “…in a fiction, in a dream of passion/ Could force his soul so to his own...

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