Hamlet Soliloquy Analysis

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In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet’s soliloquies reveal his inner struggles and mind. Through structure, diction, and imagery, Hamlet’s Act 2 and Act 4 soliloquies illustrate his dramatic shift from passive and resentful to determined and violent. Hamlet Act 2 soliloquy serves to describe Hamlet’s thoughts about himself and his plan to label Claudius as guilty. The structure for the soliloquy is split into three general sections: praise for the actor, spite at himself, and resolution in plan. By creating three distinct parts, readers can clearly observe Hamlet’s retrogression and development. Amazed by the player’s act and left alone to himself, Hamlet immediately demeans himself; his first line even starts, “O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I” (2.2.577). Although Hamlet has looked down upon himself before, this is the first time he considers himself as lowly as a slave. Describing oneself as a slave implies that there is a master restricting their will; in Hamlet’s case, his master is his father whose words might as well be God’s. Peasant also implies a lowly status, further strongly illustrating Hamlet’s resentment at his weakness of not serving his father justice. Hamlet also illustrates the effects of the player had he the same motive as Hamlet; he would “drown the stage in tears … make mad the guilty and appall the free” (2.2.598-591). Even though Hamlet overexaggerates the effects, the imagery clearly shows Hamlet’s high praise for the player. Compared to his

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