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Critically examine the soliloquies of HAMLET?answer in detail

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zoha | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted July 22, 2010 at 1:47 AM via web

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Critically examine the soliloquies of HAMLET?

answer in detail

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shaketeach | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted July 22, 2010 at 2:32 AM (Answer #1)

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The first thing to understand when looking at any soliloquy is that in a soliloquy, a character is working out an idea.  He is thinking out loud so to speak.  In the case of Hamlet, he has a lot to work out.

One of the main things to understand with Hamlet is that he speaks two different types of language in the play.  From the time he hatches his plan to catch Claudius by pretending to be mad, there is his "mad" languague which he uses when he is with others.  For the most part this is prose.

When he is alone, he uses verse.  His soliloqies expose his inner thoughts.  For example he questions existance itself, his own existance.  "To be or not to be..."  He realizes that despite all the terrible things that can happen, suicide is not an option since death is an undiscovered country.   We just don't know what will happen when we die, so it is better to suffer the slings and arrows. 

Considering the fact that he is contemplating murdering Claudius, a mortal sin, he debates with himself about this action and how to accomplish it without endangering his immortal soul.

If you look at each soliloquy, they begin with the subject of the debate.  Hamlet then explores the subject.  Once he has looked at the subject from every possible point of view, he comes to a conclusion.  The final two lines of the soliloquy sum up his decision on that subject.  This is usually a rhymed couplet.

Throughout the play, Hamlet debates with himself.  Each debate explores a different idea.      

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