The tone of Hamlet's soliloquy at the end of act 2, scene 2 is frantic. He is desperate to uncover the truth about Claudius : "If he but blench, / I know my course." He is distraught that a mere actor can bring tears to his eyes over the...
The tone of Hamlet's soliloquy at the end of act 2, scene 2 is frantic. He is desperate to uncover the truth about Claudius: "If he but blench, / I know my course." He is distraught that a mere actor can bring tears to his eyes over the imagined actions of Hecuba, and Hamlet sees himself by comparison as dull and hesitant, seeming to be an actor in someone else's life.
Hamlet is pretty self-loathing in this speech, referring to himself as a villian, a slave, hesitant, a coward, an an ass. He feels simultaneously compelled to act on behalf of his father's murder and unsure if he has the courage to do what is needed to uncover the truth and then act on it. By the end of this soliloquy, he bolsters up his resolve for action: "I'll have grounds / More relative than this. The play's the thing / Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king."
In act 4, scene 4, Hamlet has emerged as a more steady voice. Here, he feels confident that "all occasions do inform against [him] / And spur [his] dull revenge." He still believes himself to be somewhat cowardly, but not in the frenzied, self-depreciating way as he did before. Here, he notes that he possesses "cause, and will, and strength, and means / To do't." This type of inner strength isn't present in act 2. While he still considers himself to have one part wisdom and three parts cowardice, he steadily declares, "My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!" Hamlet is transforming into a man who sees the destiny laid out before him that demands he avenge his father's death, and he is settling in to accept what must be done.