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What are examples of euphemism, hyperbole, assonance, and consonance in Hamlet's...

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user3498849 | eNoter

Posted May 29, 2013 at 12:09 AM via web

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What are examples of euphemism, hyperbole, assonance, and consonance in Hamlet's soliloquy of Act III, Scene 1 of Hamlet

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 29, 2013 at 3:24 AM (Answer #1)

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According to renowned Shakespeare scholar Harold Bloom, Hamlet was Sigmund Freud's mentor, and after reading or viewing Shakespeare's play, one can certainly understand such a statement. However, with an examination of the soliloquy of Act III, one might also consider Hamlet as the mentor of the Existentialist, Jean-Paul Sartre, as in this soliloquy Hamlet considers the absurdity of existence as well as non-existence. In this consideration by Hamlet, Shakespeare employs much figurative language.

Euphemism [The use of a more innocuous phrase rather than a                         blunt or harsh one]

 (To die, to sleep— 
No more—and by a sleep to say we end (ll.67-68)

Here Hamlet equates dying with sleeping, a softer term. Further in his soliloquy, Hamlet speaks of what lies after death as

The undiscover'd country (l.86)

Hyperbole [A deliberate exaggeration or overstatement]

Examples of hyperbole are

"outrageous fortune"(l.65) and a "sea of troubles" (l.66) and

the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to (ll. 69-70)
Assonance [the repetition of vowel sounds in stressed syllables containing dissimilar consonant sounds]
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come (l.64)
The long /e/ sound is in the words "sleep" and "dreams" which have dissimlar consonant sounds. 

Consonance [the repetition of cosonant sounds in stressed syllables containing dissimlar vowel sounds.]
No more; and by a sleep to say we end (l.68) 
The repetition of the /s/ on stressed words such as "sleep" and "say" that have the long /e/ and the long /a/ vowel sounds are in this line.

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