Act 3 Scene 1 Of Hamlet

Decent Essays
In Act 3 scene 1 of Hamlet we are faced with the soliloquy that contains one of the most famous lines from English literature: “To be, or not to be – that is the question” (III.i.57). This passage tends to show a large amount of evidence of the theme “Action vs. Contemplation”. Through poetic devices, tone, and sensory imagery we are able to analyze the theme and Hamlet’s tragic flaw: indecisiveness/inability to act.
Poetic devices are a great way to develop a point efficiently. Within Hamlets soliloquy we see several instances of these poetic devices that work towards the theme of “Action vs. Contemplation”. Hamlet uses personification within the lines: “And thus the native hue resolution / Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of
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He then uses a hyperbole by calling it a sea of troubles. The hyperbole demonstrates how he is drowning in his responsibilities to old king Hamlet and his morals. We also spot Hamlet exhibiting some hubris here in the way he is against what future and fate has in store for him.
In this soliloquy we also observe the use of sensory imagery to spearhead the theme along. Hamlet paints an image of a river that is weakened by changing the direction of the current. He declares, “With this regard their currents turn awry/ And lose the name of action,” (III.i.88-89). We have visual imagery of a river whose current has begun to flow differently. This river can no longer move with the power of a raging rapid, they are weakened due to this massive change in their life. Hamlet is similar to this river; his father has been killed and his uncle is now his step-father. This is a colossal change in his life that has drastically weakened him. He must make a giant change to his life yet again and he will never know how this will turn out for him. We see his attentiveness in the quote: “And by a sleep say we end / The heart-ache and thousand natural shocks / That flesh is heir to,” (III.i.62-64). Contemplating killing himself we notice that all he truly wants is for the heartache to end. With organic imagery Shakespeare makes this incredibly relatable to most audiences. The majority of people have had – or will have - a
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