Wednesday, July 31, 2019

An investigation into the ways Essay

An investigation into the ways in which the language and the subject matter of Hamlet’s three soliloquies reveal the key concerns of the play. The most common portrayal of Hamlet is of a person seeking truth in order to be certain that he is justified in carrying out the revenge called for by a ghost that claims to be the spirit of his father. Other views see Hamlet as indecisive or even unwilling to carry out a duty of obligation to his murdered father. The purpose of Hamlet’s soliloquies is to outline his thoughts and feelings, it reveals his innermost beliefs and offers an unbiased perspective as it is merely him talking to the audience, albeit not directly. Each soliloquy delves further into Hamlet’s motivations, or lack thereof, and psyche. Each soliloquy, each slightly different, is all united by vivid imagery, introspective language, and discussion of Hamlet’s delay of action. Shakespeare reveals the key concerns of the play inevitably, meaning it touches on love, betrayal, murder and revenge, which where commonly found in plays around the time Hamlet was written. Therefore, Hamlet’s first soliloquy (Act 1, scene ii) is essential to the play as it highlights his inner conflict caused by the events of the play. It reveals his true feelings and as such emphasizes the difference between his public appearance, his attitude towards Claudius in the previous scene is less confrontational than here where he is directly insulted as a â€Å"satyr†, and his feelings within himself. In the first soliloquy Hamlet appears very distressed even contemplating suicide. He desires his flesh to â€Å"melt†, and wishes that God had not made â€Å"self-slaughter† a sin. As dew does, Hamlet wishes to evaporate with the sunrise and leave his troubled kingdom behind. He says that the world is â€Å"weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable†. Stating that he thinks of life as nothing else but tedious and foul, which causes one to assume that he believes that it is better to die then live a life full of pain and agony. After describing his desires for death, Hamlet then continues to describe the state of his kingdom as an â€Å"unweeded† garden. Hamlet seems to view Denmark as a metaphorical Garden of Eden which is now totally corrupt, Perhaps Hamlet is to become the gardener and solve the infestation of corruption. Hamlet’s despair stems from his mother’s marriage to his uncle and it is this that is the driving force behind what is communicated. His constant repetition of the time in which it took the two to get married, â€Å"But two months dead†¦yet within a month†¦A little month†¦Within a month†¦most wicked speed†, suggests his disgust at the situation. One instance it can be seen is in the first soliloquy â€Å"for I must hold my tongue† this shows that Hamlet cannot share his thoughts, therefore he must keep his feelings hidden behind his appearance. In comparison, in the second soliloquy Hamlet talks of Claudius as a â€Å"smiling damned villain!† here he is implying the evil reality behind Claudius’s genial appearance. This key theme of betrayal makes the play very dramatic in places as it creates a sense of impending evil. In the second soliloquy Hamlet expresses his anger at the accession of his uncle Claudius and at his mother’s hasty remarriage. Hamlet encounters the ghost of his dead father, who informs him that he was murdered by Claudius, and commands Hamlet to avenge him. Hamlet is unsure whether the ghost he has seen is truly his father, and suspects that it might be an evil spirit impersonating him. He therefore sets out to test the king’s conscience through feigning insanity, and by staging a play re-enacting the circumstances of the murder, â€Å"The play’s the thing, Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King†. (Act II, scene II) Shakespeare makes Hamlet end his soliloquy with two excellent lines as they round up the whole soliloquy; â€Å"the plays the thing, wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King.† This explains his idea because if the King’s guilt shows he’ll have more proof, and is also a positive sign as he starts to get a more stable state of mind. Also the last two lines are rhyming couplets, which create the audience to react in such a way that Hamlet has somewhat a stable mind. Hamlet’s melancholic language in his first soliloquy, â€Å"But break, my heart,† is in stark contrast to the determination and triumph in his second soliloquy â€Å"yes, by heaven!†. Furthermore, the structures in both soliloquies have some comparisons. In both soliloquies there is the use of broken syntax to show the raw emotion in Hamlet’s voice. In his first soliloquy, â€Å"But two months dead – nay, not so much, not two† the use of broken syntax shows how heartbroken and upset Hamlet is. The most famous soliloquy, â€Å"To be or not to be† is a question that set the audience thinking. This is Shakespeare making Hamlet question his existence. It relates to the theme of corruption. Hamlet is asking himself if there is any point of him existing. This seems to be the case when Claudius and Polonius are spying on him. But when scrutinized it could be that Hamlet knows of the spying and is saying this just to confuse Claudius and Polonius more. This is very clever because although it seems like he is mad he is, in actual fact, not. The suggestion of death occurs throughout Hamlet’s third soliloquy and the cruelty of life is victimized by fortune. â€Å"To die, to sleep†, sleep is a metaphor for death. Hamlet uses violent imagery to represent his thoughts, â€Å"The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune†. He uses a metaphor â€Å"a sea of troubles† to symbolize the variance in his mind. Repetition of the word â€Å"Sleep† demonstrates Hamlet procrastinates, and is reluctant to kill his uncle. He is trying to escape from the problems and promises that await him. Hamlet compares life to a calamity, â€Å"That makes calamity of so long life†. His words are punctuated with sorrow, â€Å"mortal coil†. Hamlet is comparing his duties to time’s brutality â€Å"whips and scorns of time†. Hamlet also expresses the longing to return to dust, a precursor of his later soliloquy where he contemplates the same idea. We feel a real sense of Hamlet’s disturbed nature; whether he is actually mad or not is debatable, but that he is troubled by the weight of responsibility to avenge his father’s death is unquestionable. The mention of the â€Å"quintessence of dust† is not fully expanded on at this point, but is effective in illustrating Hamlet’s mental decline. He questions whether â€Å"to be or not to be† and expresses a longing for the â€Å"sleep of death†, but a fear â€Å"of something after death†, preventing such actions. Hamlet’s sentences are generally short and disjointed in this soliloquy, â€Å"To die, to sleep† showing Hamlet’s mood is agitated and he is distressed. Iambic pentameter is used in both the second and third soliloquies because it is a recognized poetic device and can reflect normal speech, which is the way Hamlet is supposed to be speaking. In the second soliloquy Shakespeare again includes lots of dramatic pauses to break up the speech and also to give a climax to what Hamlet will say next. The sentences are long in the third soliloquy, because Hamlet is almost talking to himself and so does not slow down or pause very often and so he rambles on, because his thoughts are â€Å"running away from him† uncontrolled. Also, in this soliloquy Hamlet is philosophizing about death and what’s after death and so he does not speak as he would if somebody else was there. The soliloquy is more realistic because if it rhymed then it would have to have been already thought up and it is supposed to be spontaneous. The sentences are rather disjointed showing Hamlet, at this moment in the play, as a slightly â€Å"mad† character. In this speech Hamlet repeats the words â€Å"To die, to sleep† which helps to show that even though Hamlet tries to talk about something other than suicide he cannot help thinking about death as something as peaceful as sleep because that’s what he wants to think.

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