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William Shakespeare's Presentation Of Hamlet Through Soliloquies

3874 words - 15 pages

William Shakespeare's Presentation of Hamlet Through Soliloquies

Shakespeare presents Hamlet in the first Act as distraught and angry
in a state of utter depression caused by his father’s death and as we
learn during the first soliloquy, by his mother’s ‘frailty’ in
remarrying so soon after the King’s death. Shakespeare reveals
Hamlet’s torment and the origins and causes of a lot of his feelings
that contribute to his behaviour throughout the play, in the first of
Hamlet’s soliloquies in Act One, Scene Two. It is in this soliloquy
that we learn of the hatred Hamlet feels for his mothers ‘incestuous’
marriage to his uncle Claudius, and ultimately the hatred he feels for
himself.

Not only do the soliloquies used by Shakespeare present Hamlet’s inner
thoughts to the audience, they also reveal a lot about his inner
feelings towards events in Elsinore in turn revealing details about
the plot. This allows the audience to share Hamlet’s anger and
disgust, therefore viewing the court through his own perspective. The
first soliloquy is spoken before Hamlet encounters the ghost and he
has no notion of the vengeance he has yet to commit. The soliloquy is
fundamental in understanding Hamlet’s state of mind, the isolation he
feels and how he feels that the whole world is an ‘unweeded garden’
that Shakespeare gradually develops as the play carries on.

The dramatic first line introduces us to Hamlet’s feelings;
Shakespeare presents Hamlet’s contemplation of depression and
self-doubt, his sorrowful desire that ‘this too too solid flesh would
melt,’ displays how Hamlet feels very conscious of his physicality in
which he is trapped and that he wishes he could simply melt away.

Shakespeare presents Hamlet in this first soliloquy as unclean,
troubled with contaminated thoughts; Hamlet wishes that his ‘too solid
flesh’ would ‘resolve itself into a dew.’ The ‘dew’ signifies
something pure and clean – a state of nature that Hamlet strives for
and wants to feel within himself. Hamlet cannot see any solution to
end his ‘too solid flesh’ other than suicide; it is the only way in
which he feels he will be free. However, ‘the Everlasting’ does not
allow anyone to act in this way. It is God who rules the universe and
Hamlet feels he has no decision but to obey. To commit suicide would
be the greatest sin Hamlet could commit which will not provide Hamlet
with the purity and the state of mind he struggles for.

The overwhelming disgust that Hamlet feels for the sin he believes his
mother has committed is further enforced by Shakespeare’s use of form
and language. The dramatic pauses throughout the soliloquy, such as
‘But tow months dead: nay, not so much, not two:’ reveal Hamlet’s
distressed mood in which he thinks aloud through a stream of
consciousness, almost as if he were in a dream. ...

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