To understand Shakespeare’s plays, you need to understand life in those days. This includes religion, the chain of being, myths & magic, little and large and the way things where run.
The main religion being practiced was protestant; people that where catholic where known to be ‘potential traitors to their country.’ This was all well and good, but when the puritans came, life was different.
Protestants, Catholics, and puritans are all Christian based ways of life, with extreme beliefs. The most extreme group are the puritans. They believe anything that gives joy is a sin because they take your mind off god. They believed England’s church hadn’t gone far enough to its rejection to Catholicism.Order now
The kings and queens where thought to have ‘divine right’, this was the right given by god to rule a country. This belief started the chain of being; this is the hierarchy of things living on earth. (Order of creation) anyone who disrupts it was said to go hell. If you accepted it you would be rewarded in heaven. God is at the top, the monarch next, noble men and church men follow, commoners next and finally comes the women. They where said to be inferior to men.
In the Shakespearian days, they believed in myths and magic, this includes fairies, magic, witches, spell and prophesies. This was their view of life. Fairies, goblins and spirits where thought to only come out at night. The puritans used to burn innocent women at the stake because they where thought to be witches. They had many tests to see if they really where witches, they where all fatal. They where chucked in deep water, if they drowned they where innocent but if they where lucky to stay alive, they would be named a witch and be burnt at the stake. The puritans hated witches because they where said to be the roots of all desires and disasters.
They also believed in ‘little and large’. The human bodies where miniature replicas of the universe. It’s a little like the ‘micro and macro’ belief. A whole universe could be at the end of a pin.
In this essay, I’m going to write about the soliloquies that hamlet uses in the play and how they change his attitude towards revenge.
Many people have asked how and why “Hamlet” has stayed so popular for so long. The revenge tragedy “hamlet” is one of many William Shakespeare has written. Within all the tragedies, the main character has a fatal flaw, precisely the reason why it’s called a tragedy. In “Hamlet” the main character, Hamlet’s fatal flaw is that he wants the perfect revenge for his father’s death.
Shakespeare uses poetic language; this is the reason to this day Shakespeare is one of the most famous writers of all time, even though he died around 1614. Hamlet is still around for educational and pleasurable purposes alongside other titles because still to this day, no one can stand up and say I know this play inside out and I can answer any question anyone can throw at me. Hamlet is a play that every one has their own way of understanding it.
One of the questions that a lot of people can’t answer is “was hamlet really mad?” to be able to even start to answer this question; we need to look deeply into Hamlet’s five soliloquies.
Shakespeare uses the surrounding around Hamlet to show the audience how he’s feeling. At the worst of times the thunder and rain gives us an image of gloom in his head.
Now I’m going to write about the soliloquies one by one.
This is Hamlet’s first soliloquy (act 1, scene 2, lines 129-159)
In this soliloquy Hamlet is seeking the rout of suicide to stop all his pain and grief of his father’s death and the fact that his mother moved on to another (his father’s brother) so quickly after his father’s death. He compares his mother (Gertrude) to ‘a beast who wants discourse of reason’ he also implied that an animal would have mourned longer than how long Gertrude mourned for her husband.
Hamlet can’t kill himself because god’s law “Cannon” forbids suicide.
In lines 138-140 Hamlet recalls his dead father who was infinitely superior to Claudius. “Hyperion to a satyr” a Hyperion is the sun-god and a satyr is a lecherous creature, half man, half goat. In lines 140-145, hamlet talks about the great love between his two parents. “So loving to my mother, that he might not be teem the winds of heaven”
In hamlet’s second soliloquy, (act 2 scene 2, lines 501-558) Hamlet rebukes himself for his emotional outburst. He resolves to stage a play, showing a murder similar to his father’s. If the watching Claudius reveals his guilt, it will prove to hamlet, that his father’s ghost has said truth. He starts off the soliloquy by criticising himself. “o what a rogue and pleasant slave am I” line 502.
Hamlet goes through several mood changes from the beginning to the end.
In hamlet’s 3rd soliloquy (act 3 scenes 1, lines 56-90) hamlet is thinking about dying and what good it would do. This is one of hamlet’s/Shakespeare’s most famous quotes (line 56) “to be or not to be? That is the question” it’s a question every one asks once in their lives, and the minority of people answer yes to it. But as the soliloquy goes on, his mood changes and starts thinking harder about what life after death brings and he becomes frightened. This reflects on real life as well, the more we think about what we’re about to do (like write an essay) the more we get scared of it and put it off.
Hamlet looks like a man who thinks before his actions and gets affected easily by real life issues.
In hamlet’s 4th soliloquy, (act 3 scene 3lines 73-95 hamlet stops himself from killing Claudius, his uncle, because he was praying. In religious beliefs, if someone was killed while praying, he/she would be sent to heaven, regardless of his sins. So hamlet wants to kill his uncle at a “sinful moment” where he would be sent to hell. His own father was killed at a time when he had no chance to repent from his sins and prey for forgiveness, so therefore, he is (said to be) in hell. Claudius should get the same death.
In these soliloquies I have learnt a fact abut Hamlet that makes him, himself, and a role model for all. He’s a man of perfection. In my view, he acts crazy to have an alibi for killing his uncle and tries his best to get a perfect death even if he did lose his own life in the process. He is clever and strategic.