Hamlet’s Soliloquies

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Tejash Patel

Mr. Lichtenberger

Eng 151

19 June 2008

Essay 3

Assignment # 2: Hamlet’s Soliloquies

Many play writers make use of soliloquies in their plays to give the illusion of a character revealing his personal thoughts to the audience. William Shakespeare very effectively uses soliloquies to emphasize their character’s personal thoughts, emotions, and motives and to reinforce theme in his works. In Hamlet, the soliloquies, spoken by Hamlet clearly show a psychological development in the character and reinforce the theme of revenge and the tragic hero throughout the play.

In the first soliloquy, it is obvious that Hamlet’s sanity is in a troubled state. We see this in the first four lines. “O, that this too too solid flesh would melt, Thaw and resolve itself into a dew! Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!” (1, 2, 129-133). Hamlet lets the audience know his feeling of regrets and begins to have thoughts of suicide. In his speech, he uses a metaphor describing Denmark as "an unweeded garden" (137) to explain that, everything in his world is either futile or corrupt. Hamlet refers to Greek mythology, he mentions Hyperion, the titan God of light, and a satyr, half-human and half-beast, to represent his father and his uncle. Hyperion represents virtue, honor, and regality everything Hamlet saw in his father. A satyr is known for being lustful and greedy, much like Claudius, Hamlet soon begins to develop a disgust for Claudius. We soon find out the nature of his grief, as we learn that his mother married her own brother-in-law, two months after the death of Hamlet's father. Hamlet goes on the mention the love his mother showed to his father were insincere "unrighteous tears" (156). One final contrast Hamlet makes in this soliloquy is in the comparison of himself to the Greek hero Hercules "but no more like my father/Than I to Hercules" (152). The significance of this comparison is to show Hamlet's developing...