Explain how this soliloquey from Hamlet fufills the three functions of a soliloquey (furthering the plot, revealing character, and adding suspense.)  Tis now the very witching time of night, (380)...

Explain how this soliloquey from Hamlet fufills the three functions of a soliloquey (furthering the plot, revealing character, and adding suspense.)

 

Tis now the very witching time of night, (380)
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world: now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on. Soft! now to my mother.
O heart, lose not thy nature; let not ever (385)
The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom:
Let me be cruel, not unnatural:
I will speak daggers to her, but use none;
My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites;
How in my words soever she be shent, (390)
To give them seals never, my soul, consent!

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

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In this soliloquy from Act III, scene ii of Hamlet, Hamlet allows readers to see more of what is to come (furthering the plot), more about Hamlet's character (revealing character), and the addition of suspense.

Furthering Plot

Hamlet declares his intent to enact revenge upon his mother for marrying Claudius. While he states that he will not harm her, he does admit that he enlighten her regarding her wrong ways. Readers should come to expect that the violence of the play is not over.

Revealing Character

While admitting that he is going to show his mother the wrong she has done, he promises that he will not harm her.

Let me be cruel, not unnatural,
I will speak like knives to her, but use none,

Here, Hamlet admits that he will be cruel to her, but not extremely cruel. This shows that Hamlet does still have feelings for his mother, regardless of how she has hurt him. In regards to the furthering of his character, Hamlet is shown as a man who will not allow his emotions to overrule his mind. 

Adding Suspense

The following lines add to the suspense of the soliloquy.

Now, it’s the very witching time of night,
When churchyards awake, and hell itself breathes out
Disease to this world. Now I could drink hot blood,
And do such wicked deed that the day
Would shake nervously to see.

Given that Hamlet speaks about the "witching time of night," hell breathing out, and drinking hot blood, one can see how his anger has compounded. He states that his deeds to come will make the world shake. Readers can only feel the suspense of the play growing.

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