Hamlet's Key Soliloquies

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Hamlet's Key Soliloquies The purpose of a soliloquy is to outline the thoughts and feelings of a certain character at a point in the play. It reveals their innermost beliefs and offers an unbiased perspective said to themselves and not to any other characters that may cause them to withhold their true opinions. The character of Hamlet is very intriguing; without soliloquies Shakespeare would be unable to give the audience such an insight into his personality and motivations - They play a key role in making Hamlet Prince of Denmark a notoriously famous and well appreciated play. The three soliloquies I am going to explore are Act 1 Scene 2, Act 2 Scene 2, and Act 3 Scene 1. Hamlet's passionate first soliloquy (Act 1, Scene 2) is essential to the play as it highlights his inner conflict caused by the events of the play. It reveals his true feelings and provides a striking contrast to the controlled and artificial dialogue that he must exchange with Claudius as previously seen. Hamlet begins the soliloquy with a very dramatic and shocking debate on whether to take his own life: 'O that this too too solid flesh would melt…Or that the everlasting had not fixed his canon 'gainst self slaughter."(1.2.129-132) It gives us an insight as to the importance given to religion and the idea of hell-one of the key themes throughout the play. He wishes that God never made the commandment 'thou shall not kill' so it would be easier for him to kill himself. The image that is expressed serves to reveal not only the tragic nature of his problem, also highlighted by his reference to suicide, but also create a link between him and the audi... ... middle of paper ... ...flesh and not as mere shadows of their previous selves. The major question 'To be or not to be' is believed by some to be a question of whether Hamlet should take his own life. The argument put against this view is that Hamlet never specifically uses 'I', he is actually pondering the worth of human existence as a whole. Both alternatives would have been shocking to the deeply religious Elizabethan audience. Hamlets mood is much calmer, again he is procrastinating by waiting for the play to expose Claudius' guilt- Hamlet is the thinker, not the doer. It is perhaps the most disturbing form of melancholy Hamlet has displayed because he remains calm, and collected throughout. His thoughts on suicide are not over-dramatised as in previous soliloquies. The soliloquy as a whole then is an exercise in bitter irony.
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