1 Shagis

Hamlets Second Soliloquy Essay

Hamlet Second Soliloquy

Get Your
Essay Written

Starting at Just $13.90 a page

VOSKANYAN Tigran TES1 Hamlet’s second soliloquy : oral presentation In the last scene of act I Hamlet is told by the ghost that his father has been murdered by Uncle Claudius, the brother of the deceased king. Hamlet once mournful and grim turns revengeful, he promises the ghost to “sweep” to revenge. But he is tormented with doubts. The ghost has taken its toll on Hamlet but has not been convincing enough, he cannot fully trust it given that it might also be an evil spirit willing to make him change course, misleading him to murder an innocent man and be “damned” as Hamlet puts it in his words full of fear and anxiety.

For such reasons Hamlet conceives a plan, he is going to wear a mask of madness, or put on ‘the antic disposition’, which Hamlet considers will make things easier for him: Hamlet under the mask of madness intends getting people talk more freely in his presence and thus he might easily find the truth about his uncle. But, far from working his plan turns to be counterproductive. Soon, Hamlet draws even more attention to himself, the royal court is intrigued by his strange behavior and King Claudius summons Hamlet’s school friends Rosencratz and Guildernstern asking them to go spy on him.

Hamlet is suspicious of his own friends and soon conceives a new idea to trap his uncle: the reenactment of his father’s murder under the cover of a play called “The Murder of Gonzago”. In this particular soliloquy, which comes right after, the audience is waiting to see a more determined Hamlet ready to avenge his father’s murder: indeed it has been a while since Hamlet promised to act. Instead we are presented with an even more confused character, not only uncertain of the world surrounding him but also himself. Shakespeare through the soliloquy paints Hamlet’s character.

Thus, the audience finds out that Hamlet is self-loathing -Hamlet’s opening words: expression of self-disgust: “ O what a rogue and peasant slave am I! ”, Hamlet’s self-critic is obvious here, he reduces himself to the state of a slave. The Prince must really be mad at himself. Shakespeare’s choice of the word “slave” might signify Hamlet’s inaction, passiveness, just like a slave is chained to his master and incapable of acting against his will, so is Hamlet attached to the shackles of thought and meditation, which impede him from acting, acting freely. -The first layer’s acting has left Hamlet with a sense of amazement. How come the actor can get himself to cry for something that is imaginary, for “Hecuba”, dead thousands of years ago and Hamlet, who has real, true reasons to cry proves unable to express his anguish over the loss of his father and the incestuous remarriage of his mother: “can say nothing, – no not for a king”. -Hamlet suggests here that his inability to express himself is like a betrayal, for Hamlet seems to have forsaken his duty of avenging his father. He calls himself “A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause”.

The choice of the adjective “dull” reminds the audience of what the ghost told him in Act I. If Hamlet didn’t take revenge the ghost said that he would be “duller than the fat weed/ That roots itself on Lethe wharf”. Hamlet seems to be accusing himself of not having the player’s passion, of not hating Claudius strongly enough, of not loving his father strongly enough. Hamlet is mad at himself not because he hasn’t killed Claudius but because he hasn’t said anything. So Hamlet instead of plotting against Claudius dwells on himself.

Another character trait is being developed by Shakespeare, one that the audience is very much familiar with since Hamlet’s first soliloquy where he extrapolates his own grief over Denmark, the world in general. It is Hamlet’s egocentric side. -Note the abounding number of personal pronouns (I, my, me) used by Hamlet in the soliloquy. It is as if the world revolved around him. When Hamlet shows the actor’s passion and enthusiasm about his role it is only to stress on his own lack of passion. It is as if the actor were a tool that Hamlet makes use of in order to urge himself into action. The soliloquy is presented as a dialogue between Hamlet and himself. The prince is willing to work himself into a state of passion, revengefulness: “Am I a coward? ” The use of the future tense at the end of the soliloquy when Hamlet confirms his intentions concerning the mouse trap is also significant, in sense that Hamlet seems like convincing himself that he will finally do something, that he has a plan, he projects himself into the future trying to influence it “I’ll observe his looks, I’ll tent him to the quick (…) I’ll catch the conscience of the king.

At some stage he seems to imagine someone insulting him, “ Who calls me a villain, breaks my pate across, plucks off my beard and blows it in my face”. This helps building his rage which culminates when he remembers Claudius in the following lines”Bloody bawdy villain! Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless, villain! Oh, vengeance” Note the emotiveness of the passage, Hamlet breaks into an emotional climax; he is outraged at the simple thought of his father’s murderer.

One could imagine him spitting these words out loud with his finger pointed at an imaginary Claudius accusing him of all of his crimes and ultimately stabbing him with an imaginary dagger with” vengeance” in his mind. -But, this is only an imaginary vengeance or Hamlet trying to rehearse in order to get himself in the mood. In the lines that follow Hamlet’s focus is again back on himself and how pathetic the whole buildup of passion has been” What an ass am I”.

The prince thinks that it is not fit for him to curse himself, as he sound like a “whore” or a “drab” or a male whore “ a scullion”. Hamlet here is putting on his misogynist character, he cannot tolerate women that in his opinion are all “whores”, like his beloved Ophelia who betrayed him, or his mother who betrayed his “dear” father. This negative vision, attitude toward women is consistent with Hamlet who in his first soliloquy has already made a sweeping condemnation of the latter “Frailty thy name is woman”. So the prince’s main target in this soliloquy is himself.

He is concerned with questions related with whether he is a coward or not, whether he should act or continue “ like a whore unpack my heart with words”. We could therefore ask ourselves what purposes this passage serves in the play apart from characterizing Hamlet. -It has little dramatic value given that there is no action. The tension is released, Hamlet is alone on stage meditating yet again and apart from the bits where he gets over agitated the tension in the passage is kept at the minimum. -The passage has also little value in terms of its contribution to the plot.

The plot hardly advances in the soliloquy, the mouse trap idea that Hamlet comes up with at the end has been conceived earlier when he asked the first player to prepare for the Murder of Gonzago right before the soliloquy. -The passage therefore rather confirms the plot and serves as a means of delaying the Murder of Gonzago as well as the eventual Hamlet’s murder of Claudius. The mouse trap seems to be the first practical idea that Hamlet has ever had since the beginning of the play. It is a relatively reliable plan which would help him find out whether or not his uncle has anything to do with his father’s death.

But the audience wonders if this is not simply another excuse for not acting. Indeed, if Hamlet really wanted to kill his uncle the soliloquy would be unnecessary. Hamlet’s character is pretty ambiguous. On the one hand he considers that his uncle is the most sinful person that has ever existed “Bloody bawdy villain, remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindles, villain”. On the other hand, this enumeration of adjectives that negatively qualify his uncle is counterbalanced by the fact that the ghost might also be a misleading “devil”, a possibility which Hamlet reconsiders at the end of the soliloquy.

This uncertainty that revolves around Hamlet’s character brings us back to the central question of the soliloquy: is Hamlet a coward? Is he ever going to act? The later developments of the play reinforce the doubt. -It is also important to mention the theme of appearance versus reality that is embedded in the central figure of the soliloquy, that of the actor. For Hamlet the actor stands for “conceit”, or in other words deception, which Hamlet despises and is disgusted with. In this sense Uncle Claudius, the ultimate liar and deceiver of the play is certainly viewed by Hamlet as an actor as well.

Ironically enough, in order to uncover the truth and show Claudius’ deceptive nature Hamlet resorts to deceit as well by conceiving the mouse trap. For Hamlet therefore deception is a way of revealing the truth, and he certainly views theater as a powerful tool capable not only of putting masks on but also dropping the others. But, what is more striking is Hamlet’s obsession with the idea that there is often a disconnect between what people appear to be and what they really are “is it not monstrous.. ”.

Note the mocking tone with which he relates to the actor’s job, one filled with admiration as well, given that Hamlet finds himself unable to do the same for his genuine reasons. In the case of his uncle, Hamlet has been told by the ghost that he is a serpent, but the ghost itself under his father’s outfit could also be the devil. Hamlet cannot trust anybody, especially not women who he associates with deception; he is disgusted with human nature “that one can smile and smile and be a villain”, which is again ironic when Hamlet realizes that in his world lies and deceit take a necessary part of the daily life.

Do you like
this material?Get help to write a similar one

So the passage is the occasion for Shakespeare to further characterize Hamlet, to show his exacerbated feelings towards himself and those who deceive. Two of Hamlet’s character traits are confirmed in the passage: he is self-loathing and egocentric. Also, this passage explores one of the fundamental themes of the play: the theme of appearance versus reality. Also, Shakespeare through the figure of the actor, and the play within the play demonstrates and acclaims the powers of theater.

Author: Brandon Johnson

in Hamlet

Hamlet Second Soliloquy

We have so large base of authors that we can prepare a unique summary of any book. Don't believe? Check it!

How fast would you like to get it?

Hamlet Essay Significance of Soliloquies

Get Your
Essay Written

Starting at Just $13.90 a page

Savanna-Jae Busia Mrs. Krynski ENG4U 12 November 2012 Hamlet: The Dramatic Significance of Each Soliloquy Shakespearean Tragedy defines a soliloquy as a speech made by a character when he is alone on stage. In Shakespearean dramas, a soliloquy is actually a poem with lyrics in which are highly emotional or philosophic in content and poetic expression. A soliloquy may serve several purposes, such as revealing the mood or character of the speaker, revealing his opinion on specific topics and issues, creating suspense, revealing motives, and advancing the plot.

Hamlet, a tragedy written by William Shakespeare is the story about Prince Hamlet whose father, the late King of Denmark, is murdered by his brother, Hamlet’s uncle. The play revolves around Hamlet’s anger and his choices about how to avenge his father’s death. Throughout the play, Hamlet goes through seven soliloquies, all in which serve more than one dramatic significance. In each poetic speech, Hamlet reveals his character, creates an atmosphere, and advances the plot of the tragedy. Initially, each soliloquy spoken by Hamlet communicates the personality that he holds.

His characteristics are explored though the personal attacks geared towards himself for not acting on his morals, and the constant need that he has to confirm that his actions are correct. In Hamlet’s first soliloquy, he explains why it is that he is so upset about everything that has happened thus far. Originally, Hamlet refers to the world as being useless and meaningless to him, comparing it to a business that is showing no progression, “How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable/ Seem to me all the uses of this world! ” (I. ii. 33-134) Within this same soliloquy, Hamlet also expresses his feelings towards his mother’s speedy marriage to his uncle, the current King of Denmark. “O God, a beast that wants discourse of reason/ Would have mourn’d longer-married with my uncle,/ My father’s brother – but no more like my father/ Than I to Hercules. ” (I. ii. 150-152) Hamlet feels as though his mother has performed an incestuous marriage, and with someone of such low class as his uncle. Hamlet also says that although he feels this way about his mother’s decision, he will not say anything gainst her, “But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue” (I. ii. 159). These words reveal Hamlet’s initial thoughts nearly two months after his father’s death, revealing not only his sadness for the loss of his father, but for the fact that his mother does not seem to care. Through them, he expresses his inner opinions, while maintaining a level of respect for his mother and uncle. During the whole of the play, Hamlet is faced with the task of avenging his father’s murder and more importantly, choosing whether death is more desirable than life.

In Hamlet’s second soliloquy, he continues to show his indecisiveness and inability to say what is on his mind. In this speech, Hamlet reveals that he is a person who is not physically courageous, but mentally courageous. He says that in order to do what his father asks of him, he must remove all other distractions from his mind until his duties are fulfilled, “And thy commandment all alone shall live/ Within the book and volume of my brain” (I. v. 102-103). This particular line shows Hamlet’s commitment to his family and the respect that he has for his father, and mother, which was displayed prior.

Moreover, it is evident that Hamlet has many personal conflicts with himself. In his third and fourth soliloquy, he once again displays his lack of confidence and despite his desire for revenge; he cannot surpass the moral consequence of murder. Specifically, in his third soliloquy, Hamlet’s sense of himself comes from a condensed perception that he is a coward because he has not yet acted upon his father’s wishes. “O what a rogue and peasant slave am I! ” (II. ii. 535) Hamlet views himself as helpless and held back by his own conscience.

Thus, he derives a plan to have his uncle admit his guilt through expression, ultimately ending his internal struggle. “I’ll have these players/ Play something like the murder of my father/ Before mine uncle. I’ll observe his looks” (II. ii. 581-583). With the help of the play and the actors, Hamlet will come to terms as to whether or not the ghost is actually his father or if it is the devil tempting him. This will help push Hamlet into making the decision to murder his uncle or not. Religion also plays a large role in Hamlets life, throughout the play Hamlet refers to his religious views numerous times.

In each of the soliloquies, Hamlet uses analogies and allusions to the bible and religion to get his point across. In the fifth soliloquy, Hamlet expands on his beliefs of life verses death. Through his use of words, Hamlet shows signs of being melancholy and going through despair. At this time of the play, Hamlet contemplates what is more desirable, “To be, or not to be, that is the question” (III. i. 56). Although Hamlet does not directly say that he no longer wants to live, he makes it clear that death is what he prefers.

Hamlet contests with himself whether the composed bearing of corruption is more noble than bold action, “Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer/ The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,/ Or to take the arms against a sea of troubles/ And by opposing end them” (III. i. 57-60). This entire soliloquy shows that Hamlet is a man of reason; by beginning with a question and evaluating both possible answers, he demonstrates his ability to comprehend the good and bad of each situation. Nevertheless, in his next soliloquy he reveals that he lacks a genuine character.

Hamlet proclaims that in order to reach out to his mother, while still obeying his father’s wishes, he will speak and act a different way than which he feels, “My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites” (III. iii. 381). Again, Hamlet shows through his words, his inability to say what he thinks. This is a flaw that Hamlet possesses, which inhabits others from knowing his true emotions, restricting them from reaching out. Hamlet’s character is clearly displayed though each of his soliloquies.

Due to his use of metaphors, analogies, allusions and rhetorical questions, Hamlet expands on his thought process and emotions, all while never stepping out of terms with those who he respects. Each of Hamlet’s soliloquies not only reveals his elaborate character, but they also establish the atmosphere of the play. Within each poetic speech, Hamlet sets the tone for the tragedy by use of specific words, metaphors, and heavy emphasis on the subject matter. When Hamlet delivers his first soliloquy, he uses words that create a very dark and bleak mood. Fie on’t, ah fie, ‘tis an unweeded garden/ That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature” (I. ii. 135-136). As Hamlet describes the world around him, he alludes to the biblical Garden of Eden, referring to the betrayal that Adam and Eve committed against God due to temptation. Hamlet’s use of words, “rank” and “gross” create a particular image and demonstrate the anger he possesses. Much like his first soliloquy, in the second speech that Hamlet makes, he also elaborates on the mood that he is currently in.

Angrier than before because of the news that ghost for has shared; Hamlet begins to create an even darker, depressing and frightful ambience. With the exit of the ghost, Hamlet reveals his frustration with his surroundings, “O all you host of heaven! O earth! What else? / And shall I couple hell? ” (I. v. 92-93) The comparison that Hamlet makes between heaven and hell affirm the feelings he has on his environment. There is the one aspect of things, which all is well and those who he loves are happy. However, there is the other side of it, where all has gone wrong, and the people he thought he could trust are full of corruption and betrayal. O villain, villain, smiling damned villain! / My tables. Meet it is I set it down/ That one may smile and smile, and be a villain” (I. v. 106-108). Hamlet’s anger and depression creates a feeling of sympathy from within, and before ending the soliloquy, Hamlet repeats the ghost’s final words. “Adieu, adieu, remember me. ” (I. v. 111) this repetition shows the importance of the initial encounter with the ghost, thus creating a deeper mood for the play. The next time that Hamlet presents another soliloquy, the atmosphere of the play further develops. By this time, it is known in Elsinore that Hamlet is mad.

However, the audience is aware that it is all just an act. Hamlet reveals that he is determined to avenge his father’s death, upon knowing that Claudius is a murdered. “Had he the motive and the cue for passion/ That I have? ” (II. ii. 546-547) This line allows the audience to understand Hamlet as a character better. It is evident in his words that he is passionate about his duties and is much more willing to act than his uncle could ever be. Hamlet exposes his desire to do what he thinks is right, regardless of the fact that he is still unsure of what he actually witnessed. The spirit that I have seen/ May be a devil, and the devil hath power” (II. ii. 585-586). While Hamlet is certain that the ghost was truly his father after death, the uncertainty still lies within him. Hamlet allows for the audience to feel sorry for him by referencing to the devil and the power that it has. In act three, Hamlet performs his forth soliloquy which revels a deeper side to the character. During the speech, Hamlet discusses the suffering and pandemonium that he is facing, as well as the concept of which is more attractive: life or death.

Do you like
this material?Get help to write a similar one

As Hamlet refers to death as a peaceful sleep, filled with dreams, he creates a soft and desired atmosphere within the scene. “To die, to sleep/ To sleep, perchance to dream” (III. i. 64-65). Hamlet continues to elaborate on his morals, which allows for the audience to relate to the character further. Finally, Hamlet make a decision, and to end the soliloquy, Hamlet justifies the choice, “Be all my sins remember’d,” (III. i. 90) Works Cited Shakespeare, William, and Roma Gill. Hamlet. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1992. Print.

Author: Brandon Johnson

in Hamlet

Hamlet Essay Significance of Soliloquies

We have so large base of authors that we can prepare a unique summary of any book. Don't believe? Check it!

How fast would you like to get it?

Leave a Comment

(0 Comments)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *