Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Hamlet book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How do the soliloquies in Hamlet relate to one another?

Expert Answers info

rishakespeare eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2012

write7 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and Law and Politics

What the soliloquies all have in common is a juxtaposition between a harsh reality of an immoral world with his idealistic Christian reality.  

Each of his speeches, in one way or another, addresses two different kinds of realities.  On the one hand, the ideal world has a set of rules that all obey, and if they do not, they are punished.  

In the world of reality, people are liars and cheats, and often do get away with their immoral and duplicitous actions.

On the one hand, his Christian beliefs (it is doubtful that Old Hamlet shared Hamlet's Protestantism; if he did, the Ghost would not ask revenge but forgiveness) teach him not to seek revenge, but on the other hand, revenge is what he is told he must seek by a King and father who seems suspended in a ghostly purgatory of sorts.

On the one hand, the world is a rotten place, but on the other hand, there is much to love about it.  Hamlet is trapped between dual realities that he cannot reconcile.

Soliloquies: Act 1, scene 2; Act 2, scene 2; Act 3, scene 1;...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 679 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write5,416 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

booboosmoosh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2003

write4,119 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

alexb2 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseEditor

bookB.A. from Georgetown University


calendarEducator since 2004

write726 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

luannw eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2004

write1,060 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and Math

check Approved by eNotes Editorial


ybrant6712 | Student
  • The first one in Act I.ii discusses his mother's over-hasty marriage and compares his father with his devious uncle Claudius.
  • The second soliloquy follows the revelation of his father's murder in Act I.v.
  • The third soliloquy speaks about Hamlet's inability to avenge his father's murder Act II.ii.
  • The next soliloquy is the most famous one in terms of Hamlet contemplating death instead of continually bearing the "arrows of outrageous fortune" and is in Act III.i.
  • This is followed by his desire to admonish his mother on her hasty marriage, which their religious beliefs calls incestuous, in Act III.ii.
  • Claudius narrowly escapes his death when praying and thus prevents an outraged conscience stricken Hamlet in Act III.iii from fulfilling his revenge duty.
  • It is the young Fortinbras who actually stirs the dormant thoughts in Hamlet into action in Act IV.iv.

This is the final soliloquy revealing Hamlet's state of mind, his nobility, which all reveal his angst and guilt linked with conscious and unconscious thoughts. Fate does exercise control on his moves and choices, making the reader sympathetic with Hamlet.

reshmirohith | Student
Hamlet's soliloquy's give us an insight into the character of Hamlet. All the soliloquy show his delaying attitude that ultimately leads to his own end. The most famous soliloquy in the play ' to be or not to be' reveals the tragic flaw in the nature of Hamlet and that is the essence of the tragedy in Hamlet. Thus, all the soliloquy 's have an integral part in conveying the deepest thoughts in Hamlet and that gives a dimension to the flow of the play.
rozenthalm | Student

To Be Or Not To Be, is probably the most famous and often quoted soliloquy in Western Literature.  It addresses one of the fundamental questions of life:  Why must I live when life is so unbearable?

Hamlet’s central problem is that he is not sure what to do.  His father has died, his mother, Gertrude, has married his father’s brother, Claudius, and his father’s ghost has revealed that he was murdered by Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle, step-father, and king.  Not only is Hamlet depressed, he is also confused.  Can he trust the ghost?

To escape his misery and confusion he is contemplating suicide.  But he realizes that death might not be an escape from misery.  There may be an afterlife which is worse.

Who would fardels (burdens) bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?

Why must we live if living is full of suffering and confusion?  Hamlet’s answer is that it might be the lesser of two evils.  We fear death, not only by instinct, but also because we fear that suicide might get us into even more trouble, which is, in most circumstances, what the world’s religions admonish us to remember.

 

 

 

arjun | Student

The main point to discuss is why all soliloquies are linked to one an other. They are linked because main cause is that Hamlet is under heavy sorrow because his father is killed, and his mother is married to his uncle. The Ghost appears and informs what reality is for Hamlet. The central plot is to seek out the enemy and punish him.

Whenever Hamlet tries to take revenge, nature, or natural forces, takes sides with the enemy and he goes into deep desperation.

That desperation reflects the state of his mind, that's why all soliloquies are similar in nature. His soliloquies are in Act 1, scene 2; Act 2, scene 2; Act 3, scene 1; and Act 4, scene 4. All are leading Hamlet to his down fall.