386695An Analysis of Hamlet's Soliloquies
Original Text: An Analysis of Hamlet's Soliloquies
A soliloquy is dramatic discourse spoken by a character that is alone on stage and oblivious to the listeners present. A soliloquy reveals the inner thoughts and feelings of the person who is speaking and is not heard by anyone else – except, of course, the audience, who by this device learn more about the character than they would otherwise.
There are seven key soliloquys in Hamlet, two are given to Claudius and five to the hero. Think of them as privileged moments of access to the innermost thoughts of a central character. In Hamlet’s case they offer valuable snapshots of the man’s frame of mind at key moments in the plot. You could chart the highs and lows of his emotional well-veing by looking closely at each soliloquy.
William Shakespeare heavily utilizes soliloquies in Hamlet in order to give the audience an honest view of Hamlet’s true feelings. The soliloquies work as vehicles for his character development by focusing on the issues that most distress him. Hamlet’s soliloquies portray him as a contemplative man and express his pessimistic view of life. They convey his disappointment in himself and illustrate his problem of procrastination in avenging his father’s death. Most of all, they mark the movement from his inability to overcome his scholarly nature to his final resolution to becoming an avenger.
1. In his first soliloquy we see him grieving the loss of his father but also filled with rage over his mother’s ‘hasty’ marriage to Claudius. This introduces us to the brilliant mind of the troubled central character. We are left with a feeling of pity for him as he laments the ‘most wicked speed’ of his mother’s second marriage. Hamlet’s first soliloquy provides the foundation for Hamlet’s inner turmoil and views of life. In it, Hamlet reveals the first true insight into his contemplative nature after he suppresses passionate feelings when he is...