Importance of soliloquies in Hamlet
Importance of soliloquies in Hamlet : Write a critical note on the importance of soliloquies in ‘Hamlet’. What place they occupy in the action of the tragedy and the character of the hero ? Or ‘ Discuss ‘Hamlet’ as the tragedy of the human soul. Or ‘Discuss ‘Hamlet’ as a psychological tragedy. Or ’Discuss ‘Hamlet’ as a tragedy of thought.
Importance of soliloquies in Hamlet
Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet‘ provides a psychological study of a man, forced to do something that stands against his basic nature. Naturally, what goes inside Hamlet‘s mind is of greater value than what he acts physically on the stage. It is quite easy for a dramatist to present physical action. The problem in this play is to project the hero’s inside that is his spiritual conflict. Hamlet‘s spiritual conflict is revealed in his emotional speeches and particularly his soliloquies.
Hamlet’s soliloquies –
Shakespeare introduces six important soliloquies in ‘Hamlet‘. These six soliloquies expose the inward conflict of Hamlet‘s mind. There is an atmosphere of gloom, caused by Hamlet‘s miserable state and mental conflict. The first soliloquy discloses his grief growing in a particular background He is heavily shocked for after his father’s untimely death, Hamlet‘s mother is married to his uncle, an unworthy man. It has broken Hamlet‘s heart.
He remains lost in gloomy, thoughts all the time. His mother asks him not to feel the grief so much. Hamlet should know it is common that all must die. It is nothing extraordinary with his father. It is crude reality of life, but being over-sensitive, Hamlet takes it heavy to the heart.
The first soliloquy-
Hamlet is the Prince of Denmark. He is heavily shocked for after his father’s untimely death, Hamlet‘s mother is married to his uncle, an unworthy man. It has broken Hamlet‘s heart. He remains lost in gloomy thoughts all the time. His mother tells him that all have to die. It is nothing extraordinary with his father. Hearing it, Hamlet‘s heari is broken.
He feels all are. selfish in the world. He wishes to commit suicide. He wishes that his body should melt and disappear like a drop of dew. He fears that it is a sin to commit suicide. He complains God that all worldly activities are dull, passive, mean and unworthy to him. He is ashamed of the human world that is no better than an unweeded garden full of wild growth, but lacking in quality. He is willing to give up this degenerated world.
It shocks Hamlet that his mother could not wait even for a little time and ran after a hasty marriage. In a satiric tone, he points out that those shoes with which she followed his unfortunate father’s body could not be old and she married again. Following the dead body, she was looking very sad and was weeping bitterly like Niobe as if she were made of all tears. But so soon she decided to remarry her brother-in-law. It is incest. It breaks his heart and he has no wish to live in this mean world.
The second soliloquy—
The second soliloquy appears after Hamlet‘s meeting with his father’s ghost. One day, he learns that the ghost of his father visits the fort at midnight. At midnight, Hamlet waits for the ghost and succeeds in having a talk with it.
The ghost informs that Hamlet‘s uncle poisoned him and seduced his wife. It is Hamlet‘s duty to take revenge. Hamlet tells about it all to Horatio who remarks that it is very strange and unbelievable. Hamlet pretends madness to succeed in taking revenge. Hamlet shows his determination to take revenge. It gives him a purpose of living as well as punishing a sinner. His resolution to pretend madness is a part of it. Now he has full faith in the ghost’s report. The following remark confirms the view point.
So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word. After meeting the ghost, Hamlet asks his faithful friends to swear that they will keep it secret. Hamlet tells them about his pretending of madness also. Hamlet has decided to pretend madness in order to take revenge from his uncle. It is the great importance of the soliloquy that it forces Hamlet to pretend madness.
The third soliloquy-
Hamlet calls some players to stage a play. They come and display their art. A player acts the scene of lament on Priam’s murder. It reminds Hamlet of his inaction. Hamlet curses himself for delay in taking revenge. Hamlet rebukes himself for being inactive. But a true Christian like Hamlet has to confirm if the ghost was real or false. If it was his father’s ghost, he should act otherwise give up the idea of it.
He wants more solid grounds than this before killing his uncle. He decides to arrange for a psychological testing of his uncle’s mind and mental instincts. He plans to present the scene of killing of a king in play and decides to watch its impact on the King. If he is upset, he is guilty otherwise the ghost is false.
The fourth soliloquy-
This is the most famous of all soliloquies, composed by Shakespeare. Hamlet thinks too much and suffers from want of action. Hamlet thinks aloud if it is possible or not. Perhaps he thinks if his uncle is killer of his father or not. He is not able to decide if he should suffer from mental tension of feeling helpless or be ready to face a sea of troubles in an attempt to murder the King. The attempt may prove successful as well as unsuccessful. It involves danger to his life too. He does not fear death and regards it as a long sleep. When he thinks of giving up life, a question appears before him what is sin and what will displeases the Almighty. The fear of God’s anger after death, in that unknown world, frightens him. Too much thinking about it weakens the resolution. The courage of doing action disappears and an active man becomes passive and dull.
The fifth soliloquy-
Hamlet has called some players to stage a play. Hamlet directs and stages a play, called ‘The Murder of Gonzago’. Seeing the murder scene in it, the King remembers how he had poisoned Hamlet‘s father. Feeling upset, the King goes out. This wild action confirms his guilt as well as truth of the ghost’s report. Hamlet is resolute to take revenge. Just then Polonius tells him that Queen has called him in her chamber. Hamlet assures to come to his mother. In this background, Hamlet thinks aloud to be unkind, but not unnatural. He decides to speak daggers to his mother, but use none.
The last soliloquy-
While going to her chamber, Hamlet discovers that his uncle is at prayer. Hamlet draws out his sword to kill him. Hamlet has got a good opportunity at this time to kill his uncle for now the uncle is praying. He can’t defend him and there is none else there to save him. But it is his too much thinking that makes him inactive: Hamlet thinks if his uncle dies at this time of praying, he would go to heaven. It is no revenge that a villain like his uncle kills his father and for that, he sends the villain to heaven.
Conclusion-Thus, the soliloquies are very important. The soliloquies bring to light Hamlet‘s inward thinking and causes responsible for delay in action.
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