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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Hamlet's soliloquy is important for a number of reasons.

Firstly, he made a pledge to his father's ghost to act swiftly to avenge his father's murder. In the soliloquy, Hamlet expresses anger at himself for not having yet done anything. He compares himself to one of the visiting actors who, in acting out a scene, expresses emotion in a profound way, causing the audience to feel what he feels even though he has no real reason to do so. In contrast, Hamlet cannot do the same—even though he has all the reasons in the world to do so. The contrast makes it clear that Hamlet believes himself a coward. He asks a number of rhetorical questions in this instance:

Am I a coward? Who calls me villain? breaks my pate across? Plucks off my beard, and blows it in my face? Tweaks me by the nose? gives me the lie i' the throat, As deep as to the lungs? who does me this?

Hamlet states that if anyone should do these things to mock or humiliate him for his intransigence and his weakness, he should not feel...

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