What poetic/literary/stylistic devices are evident in in Hamlet's soliloquy in act 4, scene 4 of Hamlet?

In act 4, scene 4 of Hamlet, the eponymous hero delivers a soliloquy in which he reflects on his own inability to act and tries to spur himself to action. During this soliloquy, Hamlet uses poetic devices such as rhetorical questions, exclamatory sentences, and metaphors.

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Hamlet begins the soliloquy with an exclamation, immediately followed by a rhetorical question. The rhetoric builds further in the long sentence that begins:

Now, whether it beBestial oblivion, or some craven scrupleOf thinking too precisely on the event…

to the insistent polysyndeton at the end, which increases...

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Hamlet begins the soliloquy with an exclamation, immediately followed by a rhetorical question. The rhetoric builds further in the long sentence that begins:

Now, whether it be
Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
Of thinking too precisely on the event…

to the insistent polysyndeton at the end, which increases the force of Hamlet’s self-reproach by emphasizing the factors that favor revenge:

Sith I have cause and will and strength and means
To do't.

The tone of the simile that follows (“gross as earth”) only increases the sense of Hamlet’s self-disgust which is evident throughout the passage. The contrasts in language between his descriptions of Fortinbras ("a delicate and tender prince") and the troops he leads ("this army of such mass and charge") along with the overblown alliteration ("death and danger dare") and final bathos ("Even for an egg-shell") may ridicule the Norwegian, but their primary effect is to deprecate Hamlet, since he has failed to do as well as Fortinbras in revenging his father. The more absurd Fortinbras is, therefore, the greater Hamlet's own disgrace. Moreover, Hamlet finds a kind of greatness in Fortinbras's quarrelsome disposition, since he is motivated by honor, as his repetition of the words "great" and "greatly" demonstrate:

Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honor's at the stake.

After berating himself for inertia, the rhyme (a full rhyme in the original pronunciation) that ends the speech and the scene provides momentum to propel him forward like Fortinbras.

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In this soliloquy, Hamlet is wondering why he continues to be so hesitant about avenging his father's death now that knows that Claudius murdered his father. He tries to motivate himself to act by thinking about Fortinbras. Fortinbras is marching with an army to attack Denmark as Hamlet speaks, in order to avenge his own father. Hamlet wants to be inspired by this, but he instead shows his ambivalence about Fortinbras's action through his use of the literary device of antithesis, or the juxtaposition of opposites, as he speaks about this prince:

Witness this army of such mass and charge
Led by a delicate and tender prince,
Whose spirit with divine ambition puffed
"Mass and charge" are the antithesis of "delicate and tender," leading us to wonder if Hamlet thinks Fortinbras is a weakling hiding behind a mighty army (after all, Fortinbras's father, in contrast, went hand-to-hand with Hamlet's father in a fight over territory).
Hamlet uses alliteration and assonance as he continues to ponder Fortinbras's actions. Alliteration is putting words that begin with the same consonant in close proximity; assonance is putting words that begin with the same vowel close together. The "m" and "d" sounds in the passage below are alliterative, while the repeated "e" sounds represent assonance:
Makes mouths at the invisible event,
Exposing what is mortal and unsure
To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
Even for an eggshell.
These two literary devices (alliteration and assonance) bring emphasis to an important passage, as Hamlet casts doubt on the worth of Fortinbras's vengeful expedition.
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Hamlet uses a metaphor to compare a human being who only sleeps and eats to a beast, a mere animal that lacks reason and critical faculties. A metaphor is a comparison of two unalike things in which we say that one thing is another. He says,

What is a man
If his chief good and market of his time
Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more (4.4.32-34).

He means to show how we are meant to be so much more than animals; he says that God created us to be different, to be more than animals, and that we are wasting our "godlike" abilities when we fail to use them.

Hamlet uses a simile when he says that "examples gross as earth exhort [him]" to avenge his father's murder (4.4.45). A simile is a comparison of two unalike things using the word like or as. He means that the reasons he has to act are as obvious as the earth on which he stands. Both are obvious and clear to his perception.

Hamlet uses another metaphor when he describes the reason that Fortinbras and his massive army have to fight as "an eggshell" (4.4.52). The two countries are obviously not fighting over an eggshell, but the reason that they have to fight seems about as important as an eggshell: not very. Fortinbras and his men go to fight over a small piece of land that has no real value to either Norway or Poland, the country whom they will fight.

Further, Hamlet uses another metaphor when he says,

Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honor's at the stake. (4.4.52-55)

He compares one's small reason to argue with or fight another person to a "straw," meaning that in order to be great, one must fight even when the reason is small if one's honor is ultimately at stake.

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Shakespeare’s soliloquy here, as in many of his soliloquys, is not overly poetic – that is, not overly stylistically artificial or self-conscious.  They were not intended to stand alone as poetic discourse by one narrator (Aristotle’s criterion for verse) but as internal dialogues revealing of character, here almost a dialogic argument between two forces inside the character’s head (one arguing for action and one arguing for thoughtfulness).  He compares the impulses of beasts to the god-like ability of Man to choose actions (such as revenge).  Other than the standard iambic pentameter line (ideal for realistic discussion in English), very few poetic “tricks” are visible – an occasional poetic contraction (“do’t) for meter – some syntactic inversion (“or be nothing worth”) – and of course metaphors and other figures of speech (what may appear like a poetic vocabulary is in fact fairly standard for 16th-17th century English, especially in dramatic performance).  The real strength of the soliloquy lies in its persuasive rhetorical language; in it, Hamlet actually argues himself into action (“O, from this time forth,/My thought be bloody or be nothing worth!”); and  the final rhymed couplet, a standard form of closure, adds considerable strength to his resolve.

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At the beginning of the soliloquy, Hamlet exclaims, "How all occasions do inform against me, / And spur my dull revenge!" This exclamatory sentence indicates Hamlet's frustration with himself. He has, as he says, been given every "spur" or incitement to action, and yet his revenge remains "dull." His father has been murdered, and the murderer, his uncle, has taken his father's throne and married his mother. The ghost of his father has appeared to him and implored him to avenge his death. Hamlet, however, still does not act to take revenge.

Later in the soliloquy, Hamlet asks himself a rhetorical question: "How stand I then, / That have a father kill'd, a mother stain'd ... And let all sleep?" The fact that Hamlet is asking himself this question suggests that he realizes that there is no good answer. He should have acted, and it is, to Hamlet's incredulous mind, inexplicable that he has not.

During the soliloquy, Hamlet compares himself to Fortinbras, the Norwegian prince who leads his army into Poland to fight for a seemingly inconsequential patch of land. Hamlet refers to this patch of land as "an egg-shell." This metaphor emphasizes how small is the cause of Fortinbras' decision to fight, and, by implication, how preposterous it is that Hamlet has not taken decisive action even though his cause is so much greater. If Fortinbras will lead an army to war for an "egg-shell," why will not Hamlet fight for a murdered father and a "stain'd" mother? This seems to be the question that Hamlet is asking of himself.

At the end of the soliloquy, Hamlet again uses an exclamatory sentence, but this time to spur himself into action rather than to reprimand himself. He declares, "O, from this time forth, / My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!" The exclamatory sentence here implies resolution and determination. After reprimanding himself for much of the soliloquy, Hamlet here steels himself to take his "bloody" revenge. The sense of resolution is emphasized by the rhyming couplet ("forth ... worth") that closes the soliloquy.

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