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Explain the significance of Hamlet's soliloquy in act 2, scene 2, of William...

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danielb77 | Valedictorian

Posted July 23, 2013 at 10:44 PM via web

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Explain the significance of Hamlet's soliloquy in act 2, scene 2, of William Shakespeare's Hamlet. (Please include literary devices.)

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 23, 2013 at 11:34 PM (Answer #1)

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The soliloquy in act two, scene two, of William Shakespeare's Hamlet is Hamlet's second soliloquy. In this speech, Hamlet defines his inner conflict. Although he wants to revenge his father's death, Hamlet cannot find it in himself to do so. It is against Hamlet's character to murder, even if in revenge. Over the course of the soliloquy, Hamlet becomes more and more frustrated about the situation he faces. After convincing himself to commit the premeditated murder of Claudius, he talks himself out of it again. Still unsure, he decides to find more evidence against Claudius before enacting his revenge.

 As for any literary devices, a simile is found in line 579. Here, Hamlet compares himself to a whore (shown with the use of "like a"). In line 586, alliteration is found. (Alliteration is the repetition of a consonant sound within a line of poetry.) The “s” sound in “been struck so to the soul that presently.” Lastly, a metaphor extends throughout the soliloquy when Hamlet compares his lack of ability to enact revenge to bad actors.


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