Hamlet's First Soliloquy

Essay by egkan69 February 2003

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Hamlet's First Soliloquy

The tone of Hamlet's first soliloquy begins as sad and depressed as Hamlet contemplates suicide. The tone changes to angry and bitter while Hamlet ponders the relationship between his mother and his uncle. Through Shakespeare's use of diction and syntax he shows Hamlet's disapproval of this relationship.

In the first section of this soliloquy Hamlet is considering suicide but does not follow through with his thoughts because of religious reasons. This is apparent through Hamlet's words, "or that the everlasting had not fixed his cannon 'gainst self-slaughtered!" Shakespeare's use of words such as flat, stale, and weary contributes to a tone of sorrow and sadness. The long, drawn out sentences also create a tone of distress. As an actor performing this soliloquy, I would act out this first section until "...seem to me all the uses of this world!" as a despondent tone.

In the next section of the soliloquy Hamlet is angry with his mother because she married Hamlet's uncle so soon after his father's death.

This section should be performed as incensed and bitter. It should demonstrate to the audience Hamlet's disapproval of the relationship between his mother and uncle, as it is throughout this soliloquy.

As Hamlet says, "So excellent a king that was to this Hyperon to a satyr." he compares his uncle to his father. He also reminisces about the relationship between his parents when he says, "so loving to my mother..." Although Hamlet remains angry with his mother, he becomes sad as he remembers his father's gentle and loving ways. This should be performed as thoughtful and reminiscent.

The remaining of the soliloquy up until the last sentence, Hamlet becomes bitter as he says the marriage between his mother and uncle is founded on lust and sex. With Hamlet's words, "she...