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Analysis of Hamlets First Soliloquy
The first soliloquy witnessed in Act one, scene two, from lines 133 to 164 by Hamlet is
an ardent speech that brings about the true character of Hamlet to light. Who till now
was not portraying himself truly, especially when around his uncle, Claudius be it
through superficial dialogues or actions. So, this soliloquy is significant as it is this
speech that reveals the origins or the reasons for hamlet’s severe depression.
Weariness, despair, nausea and loathing are some of the subtext in Hamlet’s soliloquy
used to underline the more significant emotions.. Anger and disgust are two of the
emotions that he uses to reason why he feels so dejected. Hamlet is disgusted by the
marriage of his mother to his uncle, Claudius, grieves his father’s death and lastly is
aghast in relation to the current scenario he is in and also the value of his life.
In his soliloquy, it is revealed that he has no plans on becoming or wanting to be king.
Rather he is obsessed truly with his family matters: his father, uncle and mother. For
Hamlet, his father was everything and hence with his death, Hamlet had gone into a
state of severe depression. To the point that, while grieving his father’s death. He had
contemplated on taking his own life or suicide in other words. Reasoning himself with
the idea that it would allow him with the, “spiritual release” that he was seeking for in
order to get out of his own skin and flesh. As the speech progresses however he realizes
that this act of, “cannon gainst” will be a major hindrance for him in attaining heaven so
he does not commit it. But what it leads to is an anger that is unprecedented towards
Claudius. Which is seen at regular intervals in the speech of Hamlet, one such instance
is when he says, “this Hyperion to a satyr”. Hamlet hence is using allusions to compare
his father and Claudius. Hyperion is one who represents the virtues and traits of honor
which he uses to speak of his father while a Satyr allusion is used to speak of Claudius’s
traits which are primarily of greediness. A second instance is when Hamlet comments
that Claudius is no, “more like my father than I to Hercules”. An allusion and metaphor
is used by Shakespeare, to vividly and metaphorically show how much he loathes
Thus, anything related to Claudius is going to be scrutinized by Hamlet. For this reason
Gertrude’s marriage to Claudius is not acceptable to Hamlet and is also one of the
prime reasons for his extreme levels of frustration. His annoyance takes such a toll on
him that he feels that his mother never really loved his father and that her enactments
of emotions for him, even at the time just after his death were all false and was
displayed only to satisfy her-self. Hamlet's bewilderment and disgust at his mother's
hasty marriage to the inferior, Claudius is revealed in his comparison to her as an
experienced post horse. The disgust is present not only in
the imagery, but in the sounds of Hamlet's words. For example, he refers to his mother
as a 'beast' (line 150), which implies that she feels that she is women who has no
morals. The fact that she so easily agreed on marrying Claudius only intensifies that
thought as he says, “he married. O, most wicked speed, to post With such dexterity to
incestuous sheets!” (I.ii161-162). The character of Hamlet also uses a metaphor when he
comments that, “ an unweeded garden that grows to a seed” to compare how she has
lost her purity ever since she become involved with Claudius. Though he condemns the
matrimony but quite mournfully vows the marriage.
Since the Soliloquy is the first time where, Hamlet is expressing himself truly. The
soliloquy is filled with deep emotions. The use of literary features helps the reader to
truly understand what Hamlet is going through and his emotions. Imagery for instance
is used to create the somber mood that hamlet is in. So the imagery is mostly dark and
“gross” as stated in the play. Other literary features such as allusion and metaphors are
used by Shakespeare to clearly distinguish between Claudius and Hamlet and also to
emphasize and support Hamlets claims. As stated before, since it is for the first time
that Hamlet, has opened up himself so fully the tone is obviously one of emotionality. In
conclusion, the soliloquy is meant to help the readers understand the struggle that the
character of Hamlet is going through and this is accomplished by it as readers do get a
deep insight into the character.