Disappointment & Grief in Shakespeare's Hamlet

633 Words3 Pages
Hamlet, a play written by William Shakespeare, is one of his most widely know plays and contains the famous “To be or not to be” quote. Hamlet’s first soliloquy, “Too, too solid flesh”, presents the audience with Hamlet’s innermost feelings. The soliloquy displays Hamlet’s disapproval and grief, over his mother’s remarriage and his father’s death, through the use of diction and tone.

The lines open up with Hamlet complaining about life and trying to justify his suicidal thoughts. Shakespeare: “O that this too solid flesh would melt thaw and resolve itself into a dew”(I.ii.129-130). He describes the disorder in his world with a querulous tone and begins to become disappointed as well as doleful. Shakespeare writes: “That grows to seed, things rank and gross in nature possess it merely”(I.ii.136). Everything good in Denmark becomes corrupt because Claudius is king. Subsequently, his tone transitions into becoming sarcastic as well as reminiscent. Shakespeare writes: “So excellent a king…so loving to my mother”(I.ii.139-140). He elaborates on his mother and father’s passionate love. Although he explains this love with pride, he also describes his mother’s love with a more sardonic tone because she didn’t even wait until “ere those shoes {worn at funeral} were old” to forget about his father (I.ii.147). With this in mind, Hamlet describes Gertrude and Claudius’ marriage: “With such dexterity to incestuous sheets. It is not nor it cannot come to any good”(I.ii.157-158). In this quote, Hamlet expounds upon their incestual marriage and his ominous thought about Gertrude and Claudius’ fates.

Juxtaposition, through the use of literary devices such as similes, metaphors and homonyms, is integral to the making of this soliloquy becaus...

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...ioned, his mother.

From what has been said, it can be concluded that through juxtaposition and tonal changes, Shakespeare was able to depict Hamlet’s innermost feelings as well as show him as a three-dimensional character. Hamlet’s own feelings are cast out to the audience. His deepest darkest secrets are shared with the audience. His hatred for his uncle, disappointment for his mother and grief for his father interchangeably change the tone of the passage, leaving Hamlet more than ever confused and not at a peace of mind. He ends with, “But break my heart, for I must hold my tongue”(I.ii.158). The soliloquy ends on a silent note and Hamlet vows not to speak of his intentions again, in fear of shaming his state and family.

Word Count: 598

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William, André Gide, and Jacques Schiffrin. Hamlet. New York: Pantheon, 1945. Print.
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