Hamlet key soliloquies analysis Essay

Submitted By Brittany-Rae
Words: 2945
Pages: 12

Soliloquy 1

Act 1 Scene ii

Begins with an anguished wish.
A cry against the will of heaven (refers to Chain of Being).
Recognition that justice does not rule the world because his excellent father is dead and the inferior Claudius is alive.
Totally disillusioned with his mother’s behaviour. He has been deluded that the ‘happy’ marriage of his parents was a reality. He feels he didn’t know the true nature of the person closest to him.
Disillusioned because of human imperfection and falseness and has sunk into a suicidal state of mind.
We see his true feelings and reasons for his depression and disgust for Gertrude and Claudius.

What is being said – The ideas
How it is being said – The language
Suicide – Expression of disgust for living and wishes he could end his life

All is purposeless

The whole world is repulsive, dull, rotten

Idealisation of father

Mother’s remarriage (to such an unworthy man and disappointment at mother and her lack of genuine love and sincere grief)

Mother’s lust/disgust at

Premonition (& instinctive dislike)

Mood – total depression/heartache/utter despair

Image of flesh melting – ‘Oh that this too too solid flesh would melt’
Repetition captures anguish – ‘Oh God! God!’ and then again ‘Oh God!’

Listing of adjectives to emphasise just how he feels –
‘How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!’

Captured in the metaphor –
‘tis an unweeded garden
That grows to seed.’
Image of decay/deterioration conveyed in ‘things rank and gross in nature posses it merely’

Emotive language – ‘excellent a king’, ‘so loving to my mother’
Mythological references – ‘Hyperion to a satyr’ (lecherous tendencies)
Personification –
‘That he might not beteem the winds of heaven Visit her face too roughly’
Simile/mythological –
‘but no more like my father Than I to Hercules’ –(hero of myth who performed superhuman acts)

Exclamation to capture total amazement at mother’s action – ‘That it should come to this!’ ‘Frailty, thy name is woman!’
Qualification/conversational tone - ‘But two months dead. Nay, not so much, not two!’
Personification – ‘Oh most wicked speed’
Mythological comparison ‘Like Niobe, all tears’

Emotive language – ‘hang’, ‘appetite’, ‘fed on’
Bestial (subhuman) terms –
‘Why, she would hang on him As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on’
Comparison of mother’s action to a beast –
‘A beast that wants discourse of reason
Would have mourned longer’

Expressed in negatives – ‘It is not, nor it cannot come to good.’

Captured in questions – ‘Must I remember?’
Captured in exclamations – ‘Let me not think on’t!’
Reflected in repetition – ‘too, too’, ‘why she, even she’, ‘Oh God! God!’
Soliloquy 2

Act 1 Scene v

Comes straight after ghost says ‘Adieu, adieu, adieu; Remember me.’
Hamlet’s immediate response is
‘Oh all you host of heaven! Oh earth! What else?
And shall I couple hell?’
Hamlet begins to lose control of his reason here when he says ‘That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.’
This is not necessarily a brilliant discovery for Hamlet as he is not in a normal state of mind.

What is being said – The ideas
How it is being said – The language
Hamlet is terribly affected by the ghost/Questions: Does he come from heaven or hell? He almost loses balance which shows the extent of his agitation.

Distracted/agitated mind

Imagery is not of a man intent on action (although he says he is resolved to act)
Hamlet is excited/agitated, but not yet a man of action – a little while later he says

‘The time is cut of joint. O cursed spite That ever I was born to set it right.’ (Act 1, Sc v, 204-5)
Shows opposition when he directly addresses angels –
‘Oh all you host of heaven! Oh earth! What