William Shakespeare's Presentation of Hamlet Through Soliloquies

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William Shakespeare's Presentation of Hamlet Through Soliloquies

Shakespeare presents Hamlet in the first Act as distraught and angry in a state of utter depression caused by his father’s death and as we learn during the first soliloquy, by his mother’s ‘frailty’ in remarrying so soon after the King’s death. Shakespeare reveals Hamlet’s torment and the origins and causes of a lot of his feelings that contribute to his behaviour throughout the play, in the first of Hamlet’s soliloquies in Act One, Scene Two. It is in this soliloquy that we learn of the hatred Hamlet feels for his mothers ‘incestuous’ marriage to his uncle Claudius, and ultimately the hatred he feels for himself.

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Hamlet cannot see any solution to end his ‘too solid flesh’ other than suicide; it is the only way in which he feels he will be free. However, ‘the Everlasting’ does not allow anyone to act in this way. It is God who rules the universe and Hamlet feels he has no decision but to obey. To commit suicide would be the greatest sin Hamlet could commit which will not provide Hamlet with the purity and the state of mind he struggles for.

The overwhelming disgust that Hamlet feels for the sin he believes his mother has committed is further enforced by Shakespeare’s use of form and language. The dramatic pauses throughout the soliloquy, such as ‘But tow months dead: nay, not so much, not two:’ reveal Hamlet’s distressed mood in which he thinks aloud through a stream of consciousness, almost as if he were in a dream. The poetry Shakespeare uses portrays the torture of Hamlets thoughts; the heavy syllables all the way through the soliloquy convey Hamlet’s utter state of depression. ‘O God; God, / How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable / Seem to me all the uses of the world!’ This dreamlike state Hamlet seems to be in is yet hardly a dream at all –