In Shakespeare's Hamlet, explain how the three functions of a soliloquy are evident in this text (furthering the plot, revealing character, adding suspense).O, that this too too solid flesh would...

In Shakespeare's Hamlet, explain how the three functions of a soliloquy are evident in this text (furthering the plot, revealing character, adding suspense).

O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely
. That it should come to this!
But two months dead: nay, not so much, not two:
So excellent a king; that was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown

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

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Shakespeare's play are famous for their use of soliloquies. The soliloquy in question is spoken by Hamlet in I,ii of Hamlet. It is in this soliloquy that the plot is furthered, more of Hamlet's character is revealed, and suspense is added.

Plot furthered

In this soliloquy, Hamlet is reflecting upon the unpleasant scene in court and his parent's request that he not return to school. Readers can assume that he is not happy with either of the situations through his opening line:

O that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!

Hamlet is stating that the only other thing that could go bad would be his own life would end--it seems that the worst has happened. Readers can come to conclude that, since the play is still new, that much more is to come. Essentially, with all of the speak about death, readers know that far more is to come.

Revealing character

In the opening lines, Hamlet's unstable character is revealed. His is contemplating suicide openly to his listeners (unknown readers/watchers of the play. This reveals much about Hamlet--he is mentally weak and gives up far too easily. Hamlet is not very optimistic either. His views on the world are rather negative and hopeless as stated in the following lines:

How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!

Adding Suspense

The soliloquy adds suspense for the reader given Hamlet's mental stability is questioned. Not only that, with all the speak of death, readers can infer that death will be prevalent in the play.

Sources:

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