What is the universal message in Hamlet's second soliloquy (Act II, Scene II)?In the soliloquy beginning "Now I am alone. Oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!", what is the universal message...

What is the universal message in Hamlet's second soliloquy (Act II, Scene II)?

In the soliloquy beginning "Now I am alone. Oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!", what is the universal message and is there a specific quote within the selelction that reflects it? Thank you for your help!

Asked on by ericrain

1 Answer

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In the soliloquy in question, Hamlet's thoughts turn from his specific problems to a general, or universal truth, which is popularly expressed as "Murder will out." He says, "For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak / With most miraculous organ." I am reminded of Bill Sykes' guilty behavior after he murders Nancy in Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist. His own guilt gives him away. Shakespeare has Macbeth say the same thing about murder: "It will have blood, they say; blood will have blood. / Stones have been known to move, and trees to speak; / Augurs and understood relations have / By maggot pies and choughs and rooks brought forth / The secret'st man of blood." (Macbeth, Act 3, Scene 4, lines 151-156) The same truth is illustrated in Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, in several of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories, in Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, and elsewhere.