The primary function of the first soliloquy is to reveal to the audience Hamlet's profound melancholia and the reasons for his despair. Hamlet explains, with an outpouring of disgust, anger, sorrow, and grief that everything in his world is either futile or contemptible. Hamlet speaks these lines after an unpleasant scene at Claudius and Gertrude’s court, when he was asked by his mother and stepfather not to return to his studies at Wittenberg but to remain in Denmark. Hamlet thinks for the first time about suicide (desiring his flesh to “melt,” and wishing that God had not made “self-slaughter” a sin), saying that the world is “weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable.” In other words, suicide seems like a desirable alternative to life in a painful world, but Hamlet feels that the option of suicide is closed to him because it is forbidden by religion. Before that, Hamlet also says that God is everlasting, which juxtaposes to Hamlets death. God’s body is eternal which contrasts to ‘thaw, resolving itself into a dew.’ which Hamlet desires to become. His speech is saturated with suggestions of rot and corruption, as seen in the usage of words like "rank" (138) and "gross" (138), and uses a metaphor to associate the world with "an unweeded garden." In the line ‘So excellent a king; that was, to this, / Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother’ Hamlet uses an allusion to compare his father to his uncle, as well as critisizing his uncle at the same time: Hyperion is the Titan god of light in greek mythology whilst Satyrs are half man/half beast. This shows Hamlet’s view of the new king’s lechery (excessive or offensive sexual desires).
Hamlet then goes on to describe the causes of his pain, specifically his intense disgust at his mother’s marriage to Claudius. He describes the haste of their marriage, noting that the shoes his mother wore to his father’s funeral were not worn out before her marriage to Claudius. He compares Claudius to his father (his father...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document