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What Hamlet's Soliloquies Reveal About Him

1257 words - 6 pages

A soliloquy is a literary device that writers employ to allow readers to see into the mind of a single character. In a live performance, it would seem as if character is madly talking to himself. In reality, these monologues are the character’s swirling thoughts vocalized, giving the audience a dramatized insight into the character’s deepest emotions and opinions. It is through these soliloquies that Hamlet’s truest colors are revealed and readers see glimpses of what kind of person Hamlet is.
Readers are first given insight to Hamlet’s most inward thoughts in Act I, Scene 2. At this point in the play, Hamlet’s mother and uncle, Queen Gertrude and Claudius, have just announced their ...view middle of the document...

His depressive state is sadly understandable when considering his current home life. His loving father and admirable ruler, King Hamlet, has barely been dead for two months and his mother is already married to her brother-in-law. In addition to the abruptness of their marriage, it was considered incestuous to marry the widow of a dead brother. As Hamlet sees it, the flourishing kingdom that his father created has been degraded under his uncle’s reign. Not only has he lost his dear father, he now must reluctantly submit to his new “father,” all while losing his right to the crown. Turning focus to his mother’s behavior, Hamlet says “Frailty, thy name is woman,” labeling all females as being morally unstable as result of their overwhelming lust. It sickens him to recall how quickly his mother transferred her attraction from her late husband to her brother-in-law. While Claudius and Gertrude feel Hamlet has mourned long enough for his father, Hamlet feels they have not even grieved for the respectful period of time. He goes on to say that even a feral beast would have mourned longer than Queen Gertrude. As quickly as her tears came, they were dry and she was marrying Claudius. King Hamlet was not just a worthy father and king, but a compassionate husband that treated Gertrude with the utmost admiration, yet his mother has so quickly betrayed the memory of his father in her haste to join Claudius in their “incestuous sheets.” Through this first speech, it is clear how baffled and disgusted Hamlet is at the happenings since his father’s passing, every word communicating a whirlwind of negative emotions. This apparent disgust further emphasizes just how much Hamlet cared for and looked up to his father and how much he despises his uncle. At the very end, Hamlet foreshadows the inevitable harm that will spur from Gertrude and Claudius’s unexpected relationship by pointing out that the marriage is immoral and nothing good will come from it. Just in this first soliloquy, Shakespeare has created a feeling of inevitable sympathy and a sense of respect for Hamlet. He is rendered virtually powerless in all aspects of his current situation, yet he manages to remain outwardly tolerant, at least thus far. He is portrayed as a son any man would be fortunate to have for his loyalty and obedience to his late father, his moral soundness in his strict detestation of his mother and uncle’s behavior, yet his caution to respectfully hold his tongue, knowing it is not his place to openly rebuke his mother.
Shortly after, Hamlet finds out from his...

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