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De Mesa 1 Bettina De Mesa Mrs.

Brugger AP English Literature 16 December 2011 Hamlets Soliloquies Shakespeares self-reflective soliloquies in his 17th century play, Hamlet, are an integral aspect towards augmenting the audiences understanding of the play. By exposing the readers towards the introspective mind of Hamlet, Shakespeare unleashes an array of psychological, existential, and individual conflicts that lay within the brooding Prince of Denmark. For example, the young heir toys around with re-occurring thoughts of suicide due to the fragmentation of his familial relationships. Furthermore, the hasty marriage of Gertrude to Claudius after his fathers untimely murder had caused him to view women as vile creatures with selfish intents and an uncontrollable libido. The internal strife that burdens Hamlet not only gives the plays plot some momentum, but simultaneously explains the deep-seated hatred that he carries towards the King. Initially the Princes stand-alone speeches show his troubled souls inability to process death, however as the play progresses the audience can see a transitional phasing of his character as he ceases contemplating suicide and finally accepts the inevitability of death which causes him to achieve his goal of killing Claudius. These soliloquies are essential in establishing the mood, theme, plot progression and insight into Hamlets troubled world. The first soliloquy lets the audience gain an understanding of Hamlets inner-emotions and exposes them to his hamartia. Shakespeare sets the foundation for the play as he gives the

De Mesa 2 audience the necessary information to interpret the problem and view Hamlet in a sympathetic light. However, as the play progresses his tragic flaw of procrastination becomes more apparent. For example, when Hamlet has the opportunity to kill Claudius he states the he might do it pat, now he is praying; And now I'll do't, but then reasons that if he kills him while hes praying the king will go to heaven (3.3.1-6). This exemplifies the Princes over-deliberation and inability to act which adds to his characterization as a tragic hero. Furthermore, it is in this first soliloquy that the audience sees the theme of corruption and distress that occurs within the royal family of Denmark. It can be said that from the very beginning of the play, Hamlet has been deceived by all of his loved ones. The incestuous marriage between Gertrude and Claudius that Hamlet described as an unweeded garden, that grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature (1.2.137139) shows the betrayal that is prevalent within Hamlets personal relationships. This deception also parallels later parts of the novel when his friendship with Guildenstern and Rosencrantz proves to falter as their lack of loyalty to the Prince began to show. The lack of trusted friends and family that Hamlet possesses allows the audience to clarify him as a person and justify his reasons for wanting to murder his step-father. After countless misfortunes have occurred to Hamlet, he contemplates suicide in his third soliloquy. The Prince asks himself whether to be, or not to be (3.1.1) in this cruel world of his, as he has suffered through multiple tragedies like the pangs of disprized love, the laws delay, the insolence of office (3.1.72-73). This intimate moment enables the audience to discern for themselves Hamlets true emotions. The young royal expresses his lust for death and its wonders as he shows his disgust for the hardships of life. It seems as if Hamlets fascination with death also manifested itself into an interest with the afterlife as he states when we have shuffled off this mortal coilthe undiscovred country from whose no bourne traveler returns (3.1.67-79).

De Mesa 3 However, Hamlet is forgetting that his deceased father actually returned to the mortal world in the form of a ghost. This over-dramatization of death can connect with the graveyard scene in Act 5 of the play due to the fact that Hamlet literally faces death in the eye when he holds up the skull of Yoric. This marks the point where Hamlet realizes the commonality of death and how its eventual. The famous monologue that Hamlet utters not only contributes to the characterization of the melancholic prince, but to the development of the plot as well. In the last soliloquy of the play, Hamlet seems to have overcome his tragic flaw. He experienced a revelation which galvanized him to kill Claudius as soon as possible. The fact of the matter is that the vengeful prince had convinced himself that it was his responsibility to regain his fathers honor. Hamlet knows that his father is in beastial oblivion yet he knows that his problem is thinking too precisely on the event (4.4.43-44). It seems as if he had acknowledged that his dawdling needed to cease. Hamlets soliloquies make up a crucial component to the plot of the play. Their extremely inclusive nature gives the audience a view into the vacillating thoughts of the Prince. Not only do these little windows give insight to the character, but they are also interwoven within the plot of the play to foreshadow what actions Hamlet might take next. Given the fact that the audience is privy to the mind of the protagonist adds to the complexity of the story.

De Mesa 4 Works Cited

Shakepeare, William. Hamlet. FQ Books, 2010. 236.