What Hamlet's Soliloquies Reveal About Him

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About this sample


Words: 553 |

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3 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Words: 553|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

William Shakespeare's play "Hamlet" is a masterpiece that explores the complexities of human nature and the depths of the human psyche. Throughout the play, the protagonist, Prince Hamlet, delivers several soliloquies that provide insight into his thoughts, emotions, and character. These soliloquies not only reveal Hamlet's internal struggles but also showcase his intelligence, wit, and philosophical nature. By analyzing these soliloquies, we can gain a deeper understanding of Hamlet's character and the motivations behind his actions. This essay will examine the soliloquies in "Hamlet" and discuss what they reveal about Hamlet's character.

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One of the most famous soliloquies in "Hamlet" is the "To be or not to be" soliloquy, which occurs in Act III, Scene I. In this soliloquy, Hamlet contemplates the meaning of life and the inevitability of death. He weighs the pros and cons of existence, questioning whether it is better to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to end one's life and escape the pain. This soliloquy reveals Hamlet's introspective nature and his tendency to overthink and analyze situations. It also demonstrates his philosophical mindset and his deep understanding of human suffering.

Another revealing soliloquy is the "O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I" soliloquy, found in Act II, Scene II. In this soliloquy, Hamlet berates himself for his lack of action and inability to avenge his father's murder. He criticizes himself for being passive and cowardly, wishing he could be more like the actors who can display intense emotions on stage. This soliloquy showcases Hamlet's self-doubt, his frustration with his own inaction, and his desire for vengeance. It also highlights his intelligence and creativity, as he devises a plan to use the play within the play to confirm his uncle's guilt.

Furthermore, the "What a piece of work is a man" soliloquy in Act II, Scene II offers insights into Hamlet's perception of humanity. In this soliloquy, Hamlet marvels at the complexity of human beings, acknowledging their noble qualities such as reason and beauty, but also their flaws and capacity for evil. He ponders the purpose of human existence and questions the disparity between man's potential for greatness and his inclination towards corruption. This soliloquy reveals Hamlet's deep understanding of human nature and his disillusionment with the world.

Hamlet's soliloquies also highlight his conflicted feelings towards his mother, Queen Gertrude. In the "O, that this too too solid flesh would melt" soliloquy in Act I, Scene II, Hamlet expresses his grief and disgust at his mother's hasty remarriage to his uncle, Claudius. He laments the frailty of human nature and the fickle nature of women. This soliloquy reveals Hamlet's deep love for his father and his disappointment in his mother's actions. It also foreshadows his obsession with his mother's sexuality and his subsequent treatment of Ophelia.

In conclusion, Hamlet's soliloquies provide invaluable insight into his character, thoughts, and emotions. They reveal his introspective nature, his intelligence, his philosophical mindset, and his conflicted feelings towards his mother. Through these soliloquies, we see a complex and multifaceted character who is torn between his desire for revenge, his contemplation of life's meaning, and his internal struggle with his own inaction. By analyzing these soliloquies, we gain a deeper understanding of Hamlet's motivations and the complexities of his character.


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Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Edited by Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine, Folger Shakespeare Library, 1992.

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What Hamlet’s Soliloquies Reveal About Him. (2024, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from
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