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Use of Soliloquies in Hamlet Essay

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A soliloquy is a speech in a play that is meant to be heard by the audience but not the other characters on the stage. In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the use of soliloquies allows the audience to know what the characters are feeling and what their pure motives are. They are also able to hear the characters’ thoughts directly. The character’s secrets are revealed only to the audience which gives way for irony to take a part in the play. Shakespeare uses soliloquies throughout the play enhance the story by making the personal thoughts and feelings of characters open to the audience, creating irony, and setting a course of action.
Hamlet has a number of soliloquies that express his thoughts and feelings throughout the play, for example, Hamlet’s feelings towards his mother’s new marriage. “Within a month, / ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears / Had left the flushing in her galléd eyes, / She married. O, most wicked speed, to post / With such dexterity to incestuous sheets! / …But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue” (I.ii.159-164). Hamlet is very disappointed in his mother’s actions, for marrying so soon after the Old King’s death to his brother Claudius, and Hamlet is currently not able to express those feelings to her. In Hamlet’s to be or not to be soliloquy, his thoughts about life and death are brought to light. “To grunt and sweat under a weary life, / But that the dread of something after death, / The undiscovered country from whose bourn / …And makes us rather bear those ills we have / Than fly to others that we know not of” (II.i.85-90)? He debates over whether it is better to continue to live under the hardships and demands of life or to die and escape it. He then realizes that death is an unfami...


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Soliloquies have an important role in the play. The audience is allowed to know the thoughts and feelings of the characters, and their method of operation. It allows dramatic irony to be used effectively, and create tension between characters. Hamlet’s Soliloquies have caused the audience to sympathize with him due to their deeper understandings of his emotions and the sequence of events in his life. Without the soliloquies it would be unclear as to what the motives of a character’s actions are, or how they plan on carrying out those actions. Shakespeare is able to develop the characters through their soliloquies and the audience is able to see how those characters have changed over time.




Works Cited

Shakespeare, William, Barbara Mowat A., and Paul Werstine. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. New York: Washington Square, 2003. Print.


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