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

1 Answer | Add Yours

mwestwood's profile pic

Posted on

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.

We’ve answered 330,990 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question