The Soliloquies of Hamlet

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The Soliloquies of Hamlet

Authors use various literary elements to give insight into the mental composition of their characters. In Shakespeare's "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark," we can trace Hamlet's mental process through his soliloquies.

Hamlet's first soliloquy reveals him to be thoroughly disgusted with Gertrude, Claudius, and the world in general. "How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable, seem to me all the uses of this world" (1284), he said. He is saddened by the death of his father, who he admired as a king and husband to his mother. His grief over his father's death is compounded by his mother's hasty marriage to Claudius. Hamlet protests, "a beast, that wants discourse of reason, would have mourn'd longer" (1285). The worst part is that he cannot tell them how he feels.

In his second soliloquy, Hamlet becomes curious and suspicious after hearing of the ghost. "My father's spirit in arms! All is not well; I doubt some foul play" (1287), he said. Hamlet feels that the presence of the ghost indicates that his father died due to dubious circumstance.

After talking with his father's ghost, in the 3rd Soliloquy Hamlet is angered by the news that Claudius had murdered his father. Hamlet assures that he will think of nothing but revenge. "I'll wipe away all trivial fond records...and thy commandment all alone shall live within the book and volume of my brain" (1296), he proclaims.

In Hamlet's fourth soliloquy, his mental state shows signs of declination. He castigates himself for not taking action to avenge his father. He realizes that he has cause to kill Claudius, but cannot muster the chutzpah to go through with it. He said, "Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave, that I...must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words" (1314). He also expresses some doubt that the ghost was telling the truth. He said, "The spirit that I have seen May be the devil: and the devil hath power T'assume a pleasing shape..." (1315). However upset he...
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