What is the significance of this passage from Hamlet?O that this too too solid flesh would melt, Thaw and resolve itself into a dew, Or that the Everlasting had not fixed His canon 'gainst...

What is the significance of this passage from Hamlet?

O that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew,
Or that the Everlasting had not fixed
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God, O God,How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In Act I, scene two, Hamlet has his first soliloquy on the occasion of hearing that his mother has married his Uncle Claudius.  Hamlet is furious and wounded at the same time by her actions and haste in marriage. 

He opens his soliloquy with lines which reveal his angst and desperation:

O, that this too too sullied 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!  (i.ii.132-135)

Hamlet really wishes that he could just evaporate from the current state of affairs like dew in the morning.  He ponders suicide ("self-slaughter") and wishes that God had not disallowed it.  Moreover, Hamlet really can see no redeeming aspects of life at this point; gloom shades his view on everything the world has to offer:

How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world! (I.ii.136-7)

These opening lines from Hamlet's soliloquy are significant because they reveal the depth of Hamlet's feelings, his frustration and pain over Gertrude's choice to wed so soon after his father's death.

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