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The Importance Of The Soliloquies In Hamlet

3277 words - 13 pages

The Importance of the Soliloquies in Hamlet

A soliloquy is a dramatic speech spoken by a character who is alone on
stage, or believes themselves to be alone. This device allows a
character in a play to speak directly to the audience about their
motives, feelings and decisions. They reveal the characters innermost
thoughts and traditionally contain no lies or deception as the
character is revealing their true thoughts and emotions. Hamlet’s
soliloquies give the impression of a man discovering himself as he
speaks. The importance of the soliloquies in Hamlet are therefore
crucial to the development of his character and of course the
development of the play.

Hamlet’s first soliloquy in Act 1 Scene 2, reveals that Hamlet is
depressed to such an extent that he does not wish to live; these
feelings emerge following the death of his father and the indecent
swiftness of the remarriage of his mother to his uncle and, the new
King, Claudius.

‘O that this too too solid flesh would melt ,

Thaw and resolve itself into a
dew…’ Act

The word ‘too’ is repeated to enhance the emphasis on what Hamlet is
saying; here the prince wants to vanish, he wants his body to melt
away which provides the audience with a weak initial portrayal of
Hamlet’s character. This is how dreadful Hamlet’s psychological state
is in the beginning of the play.

Hamlet finds the vision of suicide tempting:

‘Or that the Everlasting had not fixed

his Canon ‘gainst
Act 1-2-131/132

Here Hamlet wishes God had not disallowed suicide as he desires to
commit it. I believe the audience at this stage would truly believe
Hamlet is a feeble character as he is supposed to be a Prince, who are
traditionally seen as brave. This could prove that Hamlet is frail but
we must view Hamlet under ethical light; he is held up by Christian
conscience which is why he decides against suicide as a cure for his

Hamlet believes the world has deteriorated and become dreary and foul;
it is solely occupied by ‘things rank and gross in nature’.
Shakespeare’s powerful imagery displays Hamlet under pessimistic
light; Hamlet is telling the audience that the world is corrupted and
that he has lost his faith in the world. He believes this due to his
mother having betrayed the model relationship of his parents by an
in-stand and unethical marriage; ‘With such dexterity to incestuous

The use of caesura in the lines allows Shakespeare to breakdown
Hamlet’s language and possibly his state of mind, and also suggests
the intensity of emotion:

‘It is not, nor it cannot come to good

But break my heart, for I must hold my
tongue’ ...

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