Analyze how Hamlet’s seven soliloquies show his development as a character. What do they reveal about him and his search for identity?

Hamlet's seven soliloquies suggest that his character develops to become increasingly depressed, hopeless, and self-loathing.

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In Hamlet's first soliloquy, in act 1, scene 2, he comes across as thoroughly depressed. His father has died and his mother has married again, too quickly for his liking. He wishes that his "too too solid flesh would melt," meaning that he wishes he were dead. He is upset that God has "fixed his canon 'gainst self-slaughter," implying that if suicide was not regarded as a sin against God, then he would very gladly take his own life.

In Hamlet's third soliloquy, in act 2, scene 2, Hamlet criticizes himself for not taking action and killing the king. He promised the ghost of his dead father that he would avenge his death but chastizes himself as "a rogue and peasant slave," and a "muddy-mettled rascal" for not yet fulfilling that promise.

In act 3, scene 1, in his fourth soliloquy, Hamlet again returns to thoughts of suicide. His depression in this soliloquy is more profound than his depression in the first, because in this fourth soliloquy he questions the point of life in a general sense. In the first soliloquy he considers that his own life is too painful to endure, but in this fourth soliloquy he considers that life in general is futile and foolish. Life, he says, is full of the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." It is full too of "heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks / That flesh is air to."

In his sixth soliloquy Hamlet stands behind a praying Claudius, pondering whether to finally take his revenge. Hamlet by this point in the play is so full of hate and anger that he cannot kill Claudius because he fears Claudius, being at prayer, will go to heaven. Hamlet wants Claudius to go to hell so that his "soul may be as damn'd and black as hell."

In his seventh and final soliloquy, in act 4, scene 4, Hamlet is full of self-pity, and he seems to have lost even the energy to criticize himself. He seems hopeless and resigned to his own inaction, and to the self-loathing which follows. He blames the world and not himself for his inaction, claiming that "all occasions do inform against me."

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