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Hamlet Soliloquies

Breakdown of first three soliloquies in Hamlet (by Hamlet) Modified and extended from a version originally created by Jo Pilsbury

Claire Sandrey

on 27 October 2013

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Transcript of Hamlet Soliloquies

the character has
...when a character of a drama/play conveys his/her secret thoughts and/or intentions to the audience or the readers.
 ...is a dramatic convention by means of which a character, alone onstage, utters his or her thoughts aloud. Playwrights use soliloquies as a convenient way to inform the audience about a character's motivations and state of mind. Shakespeare's Hamlet delivers perhaps the best known of all soliloquies, which begins: "To be or not to be."
The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms
Soliloquies are a way for the character to be confirmed in a world of characters that may not understand them
Soliloquies are a means for the character to tell us secrets
(Act 1, Scene 2)O that this too too solid flesh would melt,
(Act 1, Scene 5)
O all you host of heaven! O earth! what else?
(Act 2, Scene 2)
Ay, so, God b' wi' ye!
Now I am alone.
O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Act 3, Scene 1
To be or not to be
(Act 3, Scene 2)
'Tis now the very witching time of night,
(Act 3, Scene 3)
Now might I do it pat now he is praying,
(Act 4, Scene 4)
How all occasions do inform against me
And spur my dull revenge!
So let's make it simple
Hamlet has more soliloquies than any other of Shakespeare's plays

Soliloquies move the plot along....
Inside Hamlet's Mind
The 7 Soliloquies

Act 1 scene 5
Act I scene ii
Etymology c.1600, from Late Latin soliloquium
"a talking to oneself,
" from Latin solus "alone" + loqui "speak."
The first soliloquy of Hamlet falls in Act 1, Scene II, after the King Claudius and the Queen Gertrude urge Hamlet
in open court
to cast off the deep melancholy they think has taken possession of his mind as a consequence of his father’s death. In their opinion, Hamlet has
sufficiently grieved
for his father’s death already.
Basically, Hamlet is told to move on and accept Claudius as his new father.
This soliloquy shows Hamlet’s deep affection with his beloved father. It also puts light on the character of the dead King that he was a loving husband and a respected father. This soliloquy also enlightens the fact in the haste in which Queen Gertrude decides to marry with the dead King’s brother, without mourning for a respectable period of time.
Hamlet refers the world as an
‘unweeded garden’
in which rank and gross things grow in abundance.

Hamlet bemoans the fact that he cannot commit suicide. He wishes that his physical self might cease to exist. He says:
“O that this too too solid flesh would melt,Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!”
Though saddened by his father’s death, the larger cause of Prince Hamlet’s misery is Queen Gertrude’s disloyal marriage to his uncle, barely in a month of his actual father’s death. He scorns his mother by saying:
“Frailty, thy name is woman!”
Prince Hamlet mourns that even
‘a beast would have mourned a little longer’.
Hamlet considers this marriage of his mother, to be an incestuous affair.
Quotes and
text support
Act I scene 2
This soliloquy tells reveals the burden now placed on Hamlet. He is shocked, stunned and in great grief upon the revelation of the fact that his father was murdered by Claudius, his uncle, than to have died a naturally death. Hamlet now refers to his mother as the “most pernicious woman” and to his uncle as a “villain”, a “smiling damned villain”. In the end of the soliloquy, Hamlet swears to remember and obey the ghost.
Hamlet’s second soliloquy occurs in Act 1, Scene 5, right after the ghost of the dead King, Hamlet’s father, leaves having charged Hamlet with the duty of taking the revenge upon the murderer of his father:

“foul and most unnatural murder”

The ghost of the dead king tells Hamlet that as he slept in his garden, a villain poured poison into his ear. The ghost reveals to Hamlet about the murderer by saying:

“The serpent that did sting thy father’s life / Now wears his crown”

It reveals the fact to Hamlet, that actually King Claudius is the real murderer of his dead father. Hamlet got stunned by the revelation and echoes of the Ghost’s words asking him to remember it.
Hamlet's second soliloquy
Where does it happen?
quotes and
text clues
Act 2 Scene 2
In this third soliloquy, Hamlet shares his inner feelings to the audience, in which he specifically scolds himself for the continuous failure to execute his revenge of his dead father’s murder.
The third soliloquy falls in Act 2, Scene 2, after Rosecrantaz and Guildenstern leave. Prior to the start of the soliloquy, when a group of actors came to perform a play, Prince Hamlet asks the main lead to perform a play which he particularly likes; the play about the fall of Troy and the Prince and Queen, Priam and Hecuba. The player’s shedding tears while reciting a speech descriptive of Hecuba’s grief over the death of her husband stings Hamlet and makes him scold himself for his inaction. Hecuba is nothing to the player, and yet the player wept for her fate.
What would the player do if he had the motive or the passion which Hamlet has? The player, at Hamlet’s place, would certainly drown the stage with tears and
“makes mad the guilty and appeal the free…”

Hamlet regards himself as a
“dull and muddy-metalled rascal”
who has, so far, done nothing to avenge his father’s murder. He vents his anger on his uncle by referring to him as
“a bloody, bawdy villain; remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindles villain”.

He then resolves to devise a trap for Claudius, forcing the king to watch a play whose plot closely resembles the murder of Hamlet’s father, as was told by the Ghost. Hamlet arranges the actors to perform a play on
, the following night. That play will closely resemble the scene of Hamlet father’s murder and will include a speech written by Hamlet himself. According to Hamlet’s plan, he will closely observe the feeling of guilt in Claudius, if he murdered his father. As Hamlet shares his thought in this soliloquy:
“The play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King.”
Quote and
text support
scene 2 and 5
scene 2
scene 1, 2 and 3
scene 4
You tell me
Questions for discussion
write at least 1 response per question
Why would Shakespeare want to use the soliloquy why not an aside or a monologue?
How does this technique differ from what you might
read in a novel?
What could be some dramatic pitfalls to using
a soliloquy?
Act 2 scene 2
This soliloquy is considered to be one of the most important and fundamental in English literature.

Shakespeare's lines 'to be or not to be, that is the question' are arguably the most well know in English literature.
Act 3 scene 1
Claudius and Gertrude discuss Hamlet’s behavior with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who say they have been unable to learn the cause of his melancholy. They tell the king and queen about Hamlet’s enthusiasm for the players. Encouraged, Gertrude and Claudius agree that they will see the play that evening. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern leave, and Claudius orders Gertrude to leave as well, saying that he and Polonius intend to spy on Hamlet’s confrontation with Ophelia. Gertrude exits, and Polonius directs Ophelia to walk around the lobby. Polonius hears Hamlet coming, and he and the king hide.
Act 3 scene 1
What do you know?
Look for the following:
Who is Hamlet speaking to?
What is going on in Hamlets head?
Is he only of one mind?
Why no Soliloquy?
Act 3 scene 1
Soliloquies are a kind of
talking out loud or talking
to yourself
allow the action and the plot to move
talking to yourself
Act I scene 5
Big idea...What to do
Big idea...Duality , passion and fear
1. Have you ever noticed anyone talking to themselves?
2. Have you ever talked to
yourself? (be honest)
3. What is the benefit of talking to
yourself? (or is it just weird)
Soliloquies allow the audience to be used as a sounding board
For this reason Hamlet has been looked on as the first psychological drama as we become more invested in Hamlet’s mind than his actions or lack there of…..
Hamlet's fourth soliloquy
Act 3 scene 2
Act 3 scene 3
Act 4 scene 4

Folger Library Clip
The beauty of a play....Mulitple perspectives
Hamlet's third soliloquy
Full transcript