English 12 (2)
30 November 2012
Language of a Soliloquy
William Shakespeare is a man with whom most of the world is well acquainted. His intelligence and wit allowed him to pioneer some of the most common literary techniques used today. Shakespeare used a common structure to each of his plays. The plays consisted of five acts. In the first act, Shakespeare would introduce the setting and direct the audience’s attention to the source of the dramatic tension. The second act contains the majority of the plays complications. The main characters course of action becomes much more complicated, and events head towards a definite direction. The third act generally contains the climax, where the main character stands at a crossroads and debates a crucial situation. The fourth act exhibits the direct consequences the character’s choices. In the final act contains the conflict is resolves. The catastrophic endings of Shakespeare’s plays mark them as tragedies. Shakespeare’s tragedies are disturbing plays. These plays focus on a powerful central character with one tragic flaw; the main character is the victim of his own strength.
The writing style in many of Shakespeare’s most famous plays is unique. Shakespeare uses soliloquy to reveal information that is not outwardly apparent. He frequently used this device to provide information on the plot, but more importantly reveal character through the candid expression of private emotional drives. Shakespeare’s poetic use of soliloquy is widely regarded among his greatest achievements. Because the other characters in the play do not hear the soliloquy, Shakespeare is able to reveal an introspective character’s true intentions. The character has absolutely no reason to lie during the soliloquy, for their statement is technically in their consciousness. Therefore, the audience can easily interpret the characters true motive without questioning their honesty.
Hamlet, written by Shakespeare in 1602, portrays the prince of Denmark, Hamlet, and his struggle to avenge his father’s murder. Hamlet is visited by the ghost of his father in the night. The ghost reveals to him that Claudius, his brother, poisoned him and took his throne by marrying Hamlet’s mother. Faced with avenging his father by killing Claudius, Hamlet’s character struggles to carry out this revenge. Following Shakespeare’s mold of a tragedy, Hamlet’s greatest strength is eventually his downfall. Though one may suspect Hamlet’s tragic flaw is indecision, his problem goes much deeper than that. Hamlet’s tragic flaw is his struggle with morality. When Hamlet faces the killing of Claudius, his conscience plagues him. He fluctuates from anger and depression to decisiveness and realization. Through diction, imagery, and symbolism, Shakespeare shapes Hamlet’s struggle with morality.
In Hamlet’s first soliloquy, Shakespeare reveals the origin of Hamlet’s disheartened demeanor. After Claudius and Gertrude leave the room, Hamlet is left alone. He exclaims, “How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!” (I.2.137-138) Shakespeare uses diction to unveil Hamlet’s perception of the world around him. Hamlet views the world as unprofitable, or unbeneficial. He describes it as weary, stale, and flat, connoting worthlessness. This exposes Hamlet’s chagrined view of his circumstances. The first step of Hamlet’s transformation occurs at this point, Hamlet realizes the immoral nature of those around him. Hamlet then goes on to refer to the world as an “unweeded garden, that grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature possess it merely.” (I.2.139-140) Shakespeare uses diction to convey Hamlet’s moral struggle. Using the words rank and gross to emphasize Hamlet’s growing hatred towards the world, Shakespeare connotes evil. Because he is surrounded by things “rank” and “gross” Hamlet feels extremely out of place in a world that he believes to only possess evil. The Explicator, a…