StudyBoss » Characters in Hamlet » How Does Shakespeare Use Soliloquies In Hamlet

How Does Shakespeare Use Soliloquies In Hamlet

A soliloquy is an example of a literary device that is used in many dramas to real the inner thoughts of a character. In soliloquies, the character reveals his or her inner thoughts about a particular person or event without “acknowledging” the presence of any other character. In Hamlet, Shakespeare uses soliloquies to provide reader with the understanding of Hamlet’s character who is the protagonist. Hamlet is a play about a young prince who returns to Denmark from his studies after his father’s death. Hamlet sees his mother, the queen marry his father’s brother, Claudius which makes him very upset.

Hamlet believes King Claudius killed his father so he makes a plan to get revenge but something always stops him for example, he thinks about the consequences obsessively until he changes his mind. Hamlet’s soliloquies reveal his character by showing his intellect, depression, and obsessiveness about getting revenge which emphasize how getting revenge does not solve a person’s problems so should let go of the hate so that he can move forward. In Hamlet, Shakespeare uses soliloquies to reveal his intellect to show that Hamlet’s need for revenge is destroying his life and happiness.

After meeting with Gertrude and Claudius in court which did not go well and Hamlet was asked to stay in Denmark and not return to Wittenberg for his studies, Hamlet’s first soliloquy is shown. Hamlet says, “O that this too too solid flesh would melt, Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew! ’ (Act I, Scene II, Lines 129-130). This is the first time that Hamlet thinks about committing suicide when he talks about his flesh melting. In the same soliloquy, Hamlet talks about his anger that his mother married his Uncle Claudius who was nothing like his father.

Hamlet says, “My father’s brother; but no more like my father Than I to Hercules: within a month;” (Act 1 scene 2, lines 151-152). Hamlet uses allusion in the lines to emphasize how Claudius is nothing like his brother and Hamlet’s father just like how Hamlet is nothing like Hercules. This show how smart Hamlet really is and how caring and sad he is because of his father’s death. There is another allusion in the soliloquy when Hamlet talks about his father’s deep love for his mother. Hamlet is angry that his mother marries Claudius not long after his death and calls her frail.

Hamlet says, “So excellent a king; that was, to this, Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother,” (Act 1 scene 2, lines 139-140). The allusion of the king’s love to Hyperion to a satyr shows Hamlet’s intelligence. Hamlet first soliloquy gives strong impression (of his intellect). Hamlet’s soliloquies reveal how depressed Hamlet is about his father’s death which makes him to continue obsessing over Claudius which leads to his downfall. In Act 3, one of the most famous speeches in the English language is spoken by Hamlet when he thinks about killing himself so he can be free from his misery.

Hamlet says, To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer, The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,” (Act 3 scene 1, lines 58-61). Hamlet asks himself if he should be alive) or not to be (dead which means kill himself). Hamlet’s soliloquy reveals his character by showing how depressed he is. Hamlet does not whether it is more noble to let the mind suffer and go against a sea of troubles which shows how Hamlet is considering taking his own life because of his misery.

However, this goes against Hamlet’s faith as suicide is a great sin in his religion. Hamlet says, “Devoutly to be wish’d. To die,—to sleep;— To sleep: perchance to dream:—ay, there’s the rub;” (Act 3 scene 1, lines 66-67) which shows his desire to kill himself which he believes is noble. However, Hamlet later realizes he does not what comes after death, and that the afterlife may bring him more misery than life itself which is decides that the reason people do not kill themselves to end pain is because of fear of the unknown.

This shows how sad Hamlet is because of his father’s death which motivates to get revenge on Claudius. This causes Hamlet to keep feeling depressed and isolated and prevents him from moving forward because he is not able to let go of the past. Hamlet’s obsession to get revenge on King Claudius prevents him from finding happiness. Hamlet sacrificed his life and his happiness for vengeance which is why he told Ophelia he did not love her even if it was not true. Then, Ophelia became crazy and died which Hamlet regretted.

When Hamlet finds out that Ophelia is dead, he says, “is ’t not perfect conscience, To quit him with this arm? “(Act 5 scene 1, lines 231-234). Hamlet says his grief is very loud and clear in these lines. When Laertes fights him, Hamlet says that his love is greater more than the love of forty thousand men. This shows how much Hamlet loved Ophelia but it is too late for Hamlet to find happiness with her. Hamlet’s obsession to get vengeance caused Ophelia’s madness and led to her death because he told her he did not love her.

Hamlet did not realize that killing Claudius would only hurt his conscience and would not bring his father back or make his grief any better. In conclusion, by showing how intellectual Hamlet really is, his depression, and how he is obsessed with revenge through the soliloquies, Shakespeare shows that seeking revenge does not solve a person’s issues and does not make a person happy. Through the soliloquies, Hamlet is shown to be very smart and very intuitive. He is always thinking about the consequences and about the future. The soliloquies also show how sad Hamlet really is.

There are many times when Shakespeare reveals how isolated and depressed Hamlet feels about his father’s murder and the anger he feels about his mother’s betrayal by marrying Claudius. Hamlet’s obsessiveness about getting revenge and his constant inaction about killing Claudius show that a person must not be stuck in the past and must learn to get past the hatred if he wants the chance to become happy again. If a person seeks revenge, it will not solve his problems and will not do anything to change the past so a person must learn to move forward for his own sake.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.