Hamlet's Metamorphosis Essay

Hamlet's Metamorphosis Essay

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"To be or not to be- that is the question..." (III. i. 56)- so starts Hamlet's most famous and well-known soliloquy. In William Shakespeare's Hamlet, the main character- Hamlet- goes through many transitions. These changes are very apparent through his soliloquies, each of which shows him in a different state of mind. His first soliloquy exists merely to show his "profound melancholia and the reasons for his despair" (Mabillard "Part 1..." 3). He refers to himself as "...a rogue and peasant slave" (II. ii. 577) by his second soliloquy and wishes he could "arouse his passions" (Mabillard " Part 1..." 5). As much as he wants to avenge his father's murder, he does nothing yet because he wants everything planned exactly so (Mabillard "Part 1..". 7). In Hamlet's most known soliloquy, he "sparks an internal philosophical debate" (Mabillard "Part 1..." 9) with himself about suicide. In a later soliloquy, he "feels capable of perpetrating evil... -murder" (Mabillard "Part 1..." 9). Yet, in his very next soliloquy, he doesn't act because "[Claudius] is a-praying,.../And so [he will go] to heaven" (III. iii. 77-79); ultimately, in his final soliloquy he is determined to act upon deciding "...[he has] cause, and will, and strength, and means/ To do 't" (IV. iv. 48-49). Through his soliloquies, Hamlet's transition from a man with a wavering mind to a man who is "ready to drink hot blood" and focuses on only revenge is very apparent.

Hamlet seems to have lost himself when he talks in the first of his soliloquies. When he arrives at his castle after coming back from school in Wittenberg (in a different country), he finds it to not feel like his primary place of dwelling (Cousins 1). According to Cousins, "His father's absence and his uncle'...


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Saunders, J.G. The Soliloquies in Hamlet: The Structural Design. The Review of English Studies. Oxford University Press, 1995. 85-86.

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Eds. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. Washington Square Press: New York, 1992.

Warner, William Betty. The Case of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Chance and the Test of Experience. Correl University Press: London, 1986. 246-253.

Watts, Cedric. Yet There Be Method in't': The Co-Ordination. Harvester New Critical Introductions to William Shakespeare. Harvester-Whitesheaf: New York, 1998. 42-47.

Wood, Robert E. About, My Brains! Hamlet's Soliloquies. Some Necessary Questions of the Play". Bucknell University Press: Toronto, 1994. 91-108.

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