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    How the soliloquies reveal the character of Hamlet Essay

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    William Shakespeare is one of the greatest dramatist who wrote plays that offer timeless lessons and reflections on human nature. “Hamlet” is one of his most complex tragedies. Shakespeare was well known for his tragedies, and romantic comedies, some of which are still remembered till date. ‘Hamlet’ reveals Shakespeare’s gift for dramatic depiction and brilliant poetic imagery. The play is related to the Elizabethan concept of the divine right of kings. The idea that the King is a god’s directly appointed; killing a King is a crime against social order. Shakespeare contrasts the external conflict with internal trouble.

    Hamlet” is a play with moral corruption Since the Elizabethan era considered revenge to be manly and a prince had to be loyal to his duties, Hamlet was forced into a very critical situation, and his inner thoughts have been effectively portrayed through Shakespeare’s dramatic techniques. One of the dramatic techniques that Shakespeare uses is cross-reference, “I will speak daggers to her”, a similar image is created in the readers mind in Macbeth. Shakespeare makes a powerful use of language to convey the conflict in the mind of a man torn between love and hatred, loyalty and disillusionment.

    Hamlet’, has been one of Shakespeare’s finest creations, and well known heroes. The use of supernatural elements makes the play more interesting, and the reader’s interest is automatically intensified. Hamlet is disturbed at his mother’s hasty decision of marrying his devious uncle, Claudius. We see Hamlet’s sensitivity, through out the play, especially when he is in contact with other characters in the play. Hamlet is a philosopher’s price and a very sensible and remarkable human, but his vacillation leads to his tragedy. He is of a meditative, reflective and philosophical bent.

    He is so philosophical in his nature that all his decisions are subject to scrutiny. He is the scholar’s prince but everyone calls him to be the man of action. That’s the heart of his tragedy; being one person he cannot slip into different roles. He cannot be a man of action because he’s too deeply philosophical. The epithet, doubtless intended to differentiate him from the late King Hamlet, is the 1st indication of his youthfulness, emphasized in the early part of the play. Hamlet represents a 21st century person with the same social background.

    Hamlet’s character in the play is of diverse emotions and attitudes towards other characters. He deals with all the relationships that make a human complete. We see this as and when he comes face to face with his mother, Gertrude. Gertrude’s character is so negative and insignificant that she arouses in hamlet the feeling, which she is incapable of representing. Hamlet is possessive of his mother and cannot stand the thought of her sharing a relationship with his uncle. Hamlet’s fine nature is shown to us, even as a disturbed lover.

    We see that Hamlet is surrounded by treachery and deception, and in spite of this he manages to be a loyal friend. As a lover, his varied actions and sentiments tell us a lot about his character. His disturbed state of mind is usually shown to us when Ophelia and Hamlet are alone on stage. Even though Hamlet tries to be indifferent to his lover we still see that he finds solace in his love. We see that hamlet is a Human of great substance and is a true man of the Elizabethan era. As a son he keeps to his word and obeys his late father.

    His deep respect and sadness is hyped through this particular action. Hamlet’s feelings as a nephew towards his uncle Claudius tell us that he respects relationships. Different means of procrastinating are only an excuse to prolong the life of his uncle. It is because of these two main characters that Hamlet ends up in a bewildered state of mind. Friendship is a theme that reveals a new side of Hamlet to the audience. His dedications and trust in Horatio reveals his innermost thoughts. Shakespeare shows us that Hamlet is dual faced. He could be a true friend, but if deceived he could be an enemy.

    His admiration for Horatio and cold attitude towards Rosencrantz and Guildenstern tells us that he is a philosophical prince, and he is sociable and that he respects people who do not reach the levels of his own social status. He confides in Horatio throughout the play. His laid back attitude, and unrevealed fear in avenging his father’s revenge is shown to us as when he procrastinates. Shakespeare uses Soliloquies a dramatic device to bring out the characters innermost secrets. When a character speaks with other characters he is unable to convey the conflict in his mind.

    Hamlet’s soliloquies tell the audience that he is disillusioned with the world. “Sullied flesh would melt”, and “Self Slaughter”, the words show the confusion in his mind. His bewilderment is glorified in the repetition of the word, “Oh God, God”. Hamlet uses nature imagery to emphasize his internal views of life “tis an unweeded garden that grows to seed”. The world is compared to a garden. The weeds don’t contribute to the beauty of the world and the meaning of life. It refers to Denmark as an unweeded garden bearing no fruit. His soliloquy is weighed down with vulgarity.

    Shakespeare has included mythological characters to compare the King to Claudius. “Hyperion to a Satyr”. Claudius is compared to a Satyr to show how inferior he is to his brother. This is an accepted notion in Shakespeare’s time because a usurper is on the throne. Another comparison is shown to us “My father’s brother, but no more like my father than I to Hercules”. Hamlet compares himself to Hercules and Claudius to the Dead King. Hamlet compares himself to Hercules because the comparison between him and Claudius is ridiculous.

    It implies that the difference between Hercules and Hamlet is so vast. For the first time Hamlet compares himself to Fortinbras. Fortinbras is willing to risk so much for so little just for his honor. This is a great contrast to Hamlet’s own character. Hamlet then finishes the soliloquy with a comparison to his situation and action to that of Fortinbras and the army of twenty thousand men. He is even more ashamed when he thinks of the twenty thousand men, who are willing to go to their deaths for a valueless piece of land that’s not even big enough for their graves.

    At the end he decides that from that moment on, he will think only about is his revenge, he says “O, from this time forth, my thoughts be bloody, or be nothing more”. In his soliloquy he is shown against another Prince who is the exact opposite of him in the same situation. Here Hamlet has made up his mind to avenge his father’s death. Shakespeare uses comparison between four young men of almost similar ages to show that temperaments fashion character. The rigidity of a man’s opinion of a women “Frailty, thy name is woman”. Hamlet uses contrasting words in his Soliloquy “O God, a beast”.

    He believes a man as fine as his father, a beast has now replaced a God. Hamlets problem was not that Claudius became the King but that his mother’s imprudent marriage. “O, most wicked speed” unveils his agony. Hamlet expected his mother, Gertrude to be more solemn like “Niobe”. Hamlets Soliloquy is charged with emotions showing the intensity of his thoughts. Throughout the soliloquy there are many arguments marshaled to prove that a women is frail and the best example is his mother, the first women he ever looked upon. He uses sexual connotation to suggest that his mother moved from one bed to the other too quickly.

    But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue. ” This tells us that silence will burden the heart and eventually destroy it. His resentment towards his loved ones is growing gradually. “Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny”, this is imagery and comparison. While Hamlet is instructing the players in the “Murder of Gonzago” he tells them not to over dramatize, but in his conversation with Ophelia we see that he doesn’t practise what he preaches. We see that Hamlet makes important points regarding an actor’s performance.

    Shakespeare once again points out to a human’s false character “God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another”. Hamlet uses forceful language to offend Ophelia; “thou shalt not escape calumny, if thou wilt marry, marry a fool”. A sentimental character like Hamlet cannot understand how sorrow can be tied to practical wisdom, and he says a balanced person is to be appreciated, “Give me that man that is not passion’s slave and I will wear him”. The epithet, doubtless intended to differentiate him from the late King Hamlet, is the first indication of his youthfulness, emphasized in the early part of the play.

    Hamlet’s appearance in Ophelia’s closet has given rise to much perplexity and critical evaluation. Hamlet puts on an antique disposition but he conveys an appearance of anguish. Many possible meanings have been suggested that the renunciation of love for revenge to deeper motives involving disgust with mother and all women. The loss of faith in one woman extends to the loss of faith in all women and the loss of faith in all mankind. Hamlet can be seen as an ordinary man in pursuit of revenge. Hamlet’s soliloquies reveal his frustration and obscurity with life.

    This particular feeling of his is exemplified when he humiliates himself “a rogue and pleasant slave am I”. Most of the essence created is through the use of language and actors expressions, “in a fiction, in a dream of passion”. “Coward and Villain” are contrasting words. Hamlet exaggerates when he says that he would “drown the stage with tears”. His soliloquy is “pregnant” with meaning. He uses a string of questions, “Am I a coward? Who calls me a Villain? Breaks my pate across? ” He uses animal imagery when he describes himself as a “muddy-mettled rascal”.

    Hamlets soliloquy is stimulated with emotions. He uses imagery of lust. His mother’s actions have colored his thoughts. “Heaven and hell” are contrasting words. The ghost has given him a suggestion of revenge. He uses alliteration in the phrase “Bloody, bawdy villain”. “Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindles villain”, a sequence of adjectives are used to show how deeply he condemns Claudius, and this particular line emphasizes on his hatred. He calls himself a “whore” as he is unable to avenge his father’s death. He degrades himself by calling himself an “ass”.

    He personified murder to have human organs and the basic quality of speaking. Hamlet is determined to take revenge for his father’s death and is willing to acquire the power of a, “devil”. The most famous soliloquy “To be or not to be” is a question that set the audience thinking. The suggestion of death occurs throughout Hamlets soliloquy and the cruelty of life is victimized by fortune. “To die, to sleep”, sleep is a metaphor for death. Hamlet uses violent imagery to represent his thoughts “The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. He uses metaphor “a sea of troubles” to symbolize the variance in his mind.

    Repetition of the word “Sleep” tells us of how Hamlet procrastinates, and is reluctant to kill his uncle. He is trying to escape from the problems and promises that await him. Hamlet compares life to a calamity “That makes calamity of so long life”. His words are punctuated with sorrow, “mortal coil”. Hamlet is comparing his duties to time’s brutality “whips and scorns of time”. Hamlet summarizes his problems once again in this soliloquy, refreshing the audience memory. Over here we see his perspective of life. He uses alliteration in the phrase “bare bodkin”.

    He talks about life after death and he renames heaven or hell to be a country from where “no traveler returns”. He accuses his conscience for stopping him from fulfilling the ghost’s dream. “Sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought”, this shows he is of a reflective nature. This shows that too much thought has drained him off the energy to act. Shakespeare has captured Hamlets feelings and indirectly states that he cannot take revenge. The tone is of helplessness and confusion. In other soliloquies we see that Hamlet’s speeches are a combination of anger, and agitation.

    We realize Hamlets perplexity and how disheartened he is through his soliloques. He uses sarcasm accompanied by a cynical tone, “A villain kills my father, and for that I, his sole son, do this same villain send to heaven”, this is the next conflict in his mind. He doesn’t want his father’s murderer to go to heaven. This would be “salary” to Claudius and not revenge, as it would be like a payment for a service instead of punishment for a crime committed by Claudius. The question resounds in his mind should he kill Claudius when he stands a fair chance to go to heaven. If Hamlet had acted then, many tragedies would have been averted.

    Hamlet scrutinizes all possible ways of killing Claudius “drunk asleep”. He talks about the preparations of the next world. He also uses sexual connotations when describing Claudius actions “incestuous pleasure of his bed”. When there is no chance of “salvation” he should be murdered, this shows Hamlet’s conflicting nature. He uses imagery and comparisons “his heels may kick at heaven”. “And now I’ll do’t”, this shows the variance in his mind. Hamlet’s speech shows the turmoil in his mind. He supposes that Claudius is in a state of repentance, and so his death at this moment will, quite literally, enable him to go to heaven.

    Would be scanned” this tells us that he needs to be subjected to scrutiny. “Blown, as flush as May in full bloom”, Hamlet is recalling that the ghost said he was “Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin”. He reasons that killing Claudius while he is praying will earn him divine mercy and send his soul straight to heaven. Hamlet, therefore, decides to kill Claudius at a time when he is either drinking or sleeping with his “wife. ” Hamlets choice not to kill Claudius at this stage represents the most significant moment of the tragedy.

    Paradoxically, the play, however, would have lost its high sense of tragedy, and Hamlet would have been less a tragic hero by attacking Claudius from behind as he knelt in prayer. At this point many critics feel that Hamlet is merely putting off revenge. Hamlet expresses his feelings of death thought the quote “Exposing what is mortal and unsure to all that fortune, death, and danger dare, even for an eggshell”. He believes himself to be a careless son as he has a “father killed and a mother stained”. Hamlet’s soliloquy reveals his bewilderment with his duties at this point of time in the play.

    He fails to understand the true identity of a man. A rhetorical question has been used and it sets the reader thinking, “Be but to sleep and feed”. He compares man to “a beast”. “Sure, he that made us with such large discourse, Looking before and after, gave us not That capability and godlike reason To fust in us unused”, Here Hamlet is saying that every man has reason, and that reason should be put to good use. He contradicts himself in the dialogue “Examples gross as earth exhort me”. As a prince, he fears making any decisions that involves the Kingdom.

    He accuses himself for the death of “twenty thousand men”. “Hamlet” is a play, which sustains the reader’s interest. It deals with not only different family relationships, but also with other formal relationships. It is very easy for the audience to relate to Hamlet’s feelings for such emotions have been carried down till today. Shakespeare dramatizes on central issues, and beautifully deals with a lover’s feelings, a son’s feelings, and an heir’s feelings. In other common characters we see other simple bonds that tie any family such as a father and a daughter, and brother and a sister and so on.

    Hamlet is a play that knocks at the audiences’ hearts and brings out a new sense of emotions, leaving them spellbound. Reading this play has not only been a memorable experience, but a moralistic one as well. Time waits for no man, and you never know when it’s heading towards you. In the end “Hamlet” leaves us with the message that life is indeed worth living even though you come across many hassles and obligations in life. One of the messages that Shakespeare tries to convey through his books is that good is wasted but evil never triumphs.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    How the soliloquies reveal the character of Hamlet Essay. (2017, Oct 08). Retrieved from

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