What do Hamlet's numerous soliloquies reveal about his character?

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Hamlet's many soliloquies show how introspective he is, meaning he is thoughtful and tends to analyze his situation at great length before acting. Because of his introspection—his intense interiority—he has been called the first modern hero.

Hamlet, unlike Laertes, doesn't simply do what his society expects him to do. A less introspective character than Hamlet would have heard the words of his father's ghost and simply gone out and killed his uncle as revenge for his uncle murdering his father. Not so Hamlet, the university student from Wittenberg. As his soliloquies show, with him there is not a straight line from word to action.

Hamlet examines a problem from all angles. He is acutely aware, as we learn from his soliloquies, that the ghost he spoke with may have been sent from Satan to tempt him to kill an innocent man. He feels he has to run an experiment to verify what the ghost has said, a very modern, evidence-based way of thinking. He also experiences anguish because he realizes he is caught between two conflicting moral systems: the revenge system, which teaches that the only honorable act for him is to kill to avenge his father, and Christianity, which preaches forgiveness and mercy. This conflict haunts him throughout the play, long after he has established that Claudius killed his father.

Hamlet, as an anguished, introspective person deeply depressed by his father's death and mother's remarriage, raises universal questions about why we are alive, why the world is so corrupt, and what it all matters since we will die anyway. Through his soliloquies, he reveals how deeply he thinks about questions of morals and meaning—and because Shakespeare is putting the words into his mouth, he states thoughts that have crossed most people's mind in a startlingly memorable way.

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