Hamlet's Third Soliloquy
One of Shakespeare's most celebrated works is the play The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Hamlet, the main character, endures many of the misfortunes of life that the average - and not-so average - person might suffer. Hamlet's father dies a suspicious death and his mother hastily remarries, he bears the trauma of a lost relationship with a girl he seems to truly love, realizes the truth about his own uncle's involvement in his father's death, and experiences all of this in the public eye. What makes Hamlet's character particularly captivating in comparison to most of Shakespeare's others is the fact that he seems to really come alive with thought and emotion. Hamlet goes through the motions of the grief following the loss of his father and the sense of betrayal he feels when he learns that Claudius is responsible for the death, not to mention the fact that his mother quickly married the murderer. The weight of these emotions pushes Hamlet to the edge of his limits, and soon he reaches the point of contemplating death.
In the first scene of the third act, Hamlet utters a thoughtful soliloquy regarding the matters of life and suicide. This soliloquy seems to be one of the most believable moments in a Shakespearean play, as every person faces at least one such dramatic, self-contemplative moment in a lifetime. The reader or audience is able to understand Hamlet's thoughts despite Shakespeare's thick and lengthy writing style. Hamlet here begins with the famous line, "To be or not to be - that is the question" (III, i, 64), a line quite often copied or even satired due to its candor and depth. Hamlet immediat...
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... Shakespeare uses Hamlet's third soliloquy to contemplate, if not confront the fears that plague the human heart. Reasoning brings mankind to the fear of the unknown - both in the afterlife and in the present - for one cannot know what the future holds, and there is no safety in that. For what seems to be the first time, Shakespeare's words extend beyond the pretentiousness of Elizabethan English and into a universal language. He focuses less on word play and more on the message behind the words. With Hamlet's voice, Shakespeare contemplates life, death, fear, and fearlessness to find the roots of man's drive to action and the reason why those actions sometimes fall through. Hamlet's soliloquy, for which William Shakespeare is responsible, is truly one of the most unique and honest moments in any play in history.
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