Hamlet's Soliloquies Reveal His Personality

Topics: Hamlet, William Shakespeare, Soliloquy Pages: 6 (2192 words) Published: November 27, 2007
Hamlet's Soliloquies Reveal His Personality
"To be or not to be—that is the question (Hamlet, III, i, 64)" The previous quotation is the opening line from Hamlet's most famous soliloquy in which he is contemplating suicide as an end to all of his adversities. "Hamlet's world is bleak and cold because almost no one and nothing can be trusted ("Folger Shakespeare Library")." Hamlet allows his words to exhibit his emotions through the soliloquies in the play. While dealing with the sudden loss of his father, Hamlet must now face the reality of his mother's (Gertrude) marriage to his uncle, Claudius, only two months after his father's death. Hamlet learns that Claudius murdered his father to become the king of Denmark. These dilemmas in Hamlet's life are the cause of his depression and desire of revenge against his father's killer. Joanna Montgomery Byles states that "The concept of the superego, both individual and cultural, is important to our understanding of the dynamics of aggressive destruction in Shakespeare's tragedies involving revenge. (Tragic Alternatives 1)." "According to the psychoanalytic perspective on human development, the superego represents a person's conscience, incorporating distinctions between right and wrong; ("Saskatchewan Learning")" therefore, superego may justify the reasons for Hamlet's actions because both his father's death, and mother's marriage, have mentally affected him, not allowing Hamlet to know any better action to take. All of Hamlet's seven soliloquies in William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Prince of Denmark reveal Hamlet's grief, indecision, insanity, and revenge; however, the three strongest soliloquies are essential to the reader's understanding of Hamlet's motivation leading to his tragic end. Hamlet's first soliloquy appears in Act I of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, where he explains his feelings about his father's death and his mother's marriage to Claudius. Although Hamlet is feeling both grief and sorrow, he also outpours his anger and disgust of the marriage through his words. With the quote, "O, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt,

Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew,
Or that the Everlasting had not fixed
His canon 'gainst {self-slaughter!} (I, ii, 133-136)," Hamlet is speculating suicide as an end to his sorrow; however, Hamlet goes on to say that "the Everlasting" is against "self-slaughter," or suicide, which would result in Hamlet's not going to Heaven after death. "'Tis an unweeded garden/That grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature/Possess it merely (I, ii, 139-141)." Amanda Mabillard explains, "Although Hamlet accepts weeds as a natural part of the garden (and more generally a natural part of life), he feels that the weeds have grown out of control and now possess nature entirely ("About: Shakespeare")." Hamlet is using weeds to describe the problems in his life. He feels that his problems are out of control and in control of him, just as weeds are in a garden. After revealing the grief of his father, it seems as if his sadness changes to anger as Hamlet compares his father and Claudius by saying, "But two months dead--nay, not so much, not two./So excellent a king, that was to this/Hyperion to a satyr; (I, ii, 142-144)." "Hyperion, the Titan god of light, represents honor, virtue, and regality--all traits belonging to Hamlet's father, the true King of Denmark. Satyrs, the half-human and half-beast companions of the wine-god Dionysus, represent lasciviousness and overindulgence, much like Hamlet's unsurping uncle Claudius (Mabillard)." Claudius' lasciviousness aspect, or having sexual desire, bothers Hamlet the most because he does not want to imagine his mother being with anyone but his father. He feels that his mother has turned her back on both Hamlet, as well as his father because she is sexually involved with another man. Hamlet continues with anger to say, "(O God, a beast that wants discourse of...
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