Soliloquies Criticism: Overviews And General Studies - Essay

S. S. Hussey (essay date 1982)

(Shakespearean Criticism)

SOURCE: Hussey, S. S. “The Development of the Soliloquy.” In The Literary Language of Shakespeare, pp. 181-202. London: Longman, 1982.

[In the following essay, Hussey traces the evolution of Shakespeare's soliloquies, from the early tragedies and history plays to the later tragedies, with particular attention to their function and syntax. Remarking on the development of these speeches from expository passages to communications of moral or psychological confusion, the critic discusses soliloquies in a number of plays, especially Macbeth and Hamlet, but also Henry VI, Part 3, Richard III, Julius Caesar, and Othello.]

We must beware of applying to...

(The entire section is 9090 words.)

Anthony J. Gilbert (essay date May 1995)

(Shakespearean Criticism)

SOURCE: Gilbert, Anthony J. “Shakespearean Self-Talk, The Gricean Maxims, and the Unconscious.” English Studies 76, no. 3 (May 1995): 221-37.

[In the following essay, Gilbert employs a theory of the normative pattern of conversational practice formulated by H. P. Grice—a philosopher of language—to evaluate four Shakespearean soliloquies in terms of whether characters are speaking the truth about themselves and their actions, evading it, repressing it, or rationalizing it. Gilbert analyzes Claudius's “O, my offence is rank” soliloquy in Hamlet (III.iii) with respect to what it reveals about the king's resourcefulness and self-awareness as well as his cynicism; Hamlet's...

(The entire section is 8886 words.)

James Hirsh (essay date 2003)

(Shakespearean Criticism)

SOURCE: Hirsh, James. “Shakespeare's Soliloquies: The Representation of Speech.” In Shakespeare and the History of Soliloquies, pp. 119-98. Madison, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2003.

[In the following excerpt, Hirsh claims that, in accordance with accepted dramatic convention, soliloquies in Shakespeare's plays are direct speech acts, not interior monologues. He discusses numerous soliloquies and asides that are overheard by other characters, either onstage or offstage, with particular reference to the ones in Romeo and Juliet.]

Shakespeare employed the conventions that governed soliloquies in the late Renaissance and that were the focus of the...

(The entire section is 9912 words.)