What impression do you get of Hamlet from his soliloquies?pls make the answer broad Shakespeare's "Hamlet"

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Unlike his dead father who seems to have been a man of action, Hamlet is extremely pensive and passive.  Of a melancholic temperament which is given to mulling over ideas, Hamlet is philosophical in his analysis of existential conditions.  For instance, after his father's ghost urges Hamlet to avenge his death, Hamlet internalizes the problem and sulks about his own fate:

O, that this too too sallied flesh would melt,/Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew,/Or that the Everlasting had not fixed/His canon 'gainst self-slaughter.  O God, God,/How weary, stale flat, and unprofitable /Seem to me all the uses of this world! I, ii, 129-132)

Hamlet also becomes rather misanthropic in his views.  He is disgusted with the "Fraility" of his mother who marries his uncle with

wicked speed, to post/With such dexterity to incestuous sheets! (I,ii,155-156)

In his second soliloquy he continues his reviling of his mother, calling her a "most pernicious woman!"(I,v, 104) who is a "smiling, damned villain" (I,v,105).  As Hamlet later states in Act II, "Man delights not me, nor woman neither....(II,ii,292).

Remaining in this depressed state, Hamlet turns over the existential questions that torture him, and longs for an end and "surcease" to his problems.  But, he realizes that suicide is not a solution since it is against God's laws, so "conscience does make cowards of us all" (III,i,83).

Then, in the remainder of his soliloquies, Hamlet is troubled with inaction when he knows that he must take some action against Claudius, but he continues to analyze the situation until he reproaches himself in the fourth act, wondering why Fortinbras goes forth so easily to meet his fate,

Exposing what is mortal and unsure/To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,/Even for an eggshell.  Rightly to be great/Is not to stir without great argument,/But greatly to find quarrel in a straw/When honor's at the stake. How stand I then,/That have a father killed, a mother stained,...(Iv,iv,51-54)

and he, who has had a father murdered cannot act. However, after witnessing the honor and fortitude of Fortinbras, Hamlet vows that he will finally act and avenge his father's slaying, declaring that he is "Hamlet the Dane":

O, from this time forth,/My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth! (IV, i, 65-66)

Through this wrestling with his conscience in soliloquy, Hamlet clearly develops from a self-absorbed, melancholic, intensely pensive young man who broods over his loss of his father and deception of his friends; Hamlet perceives the world merely in terms of himself, but undergoes a dramatic change as, in the end, he declares himself "Hamlet, the Dane" and avenges his father's death, acting as a Prince who must save the State.

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