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Hamlet Soliloquy Analysis

Uploaded by xsparklyvix on Sep 05, 2005

Hamlet Soliloquy Analysis
‘Oh What a rogue and Peasant Slave I Am’ (Act 2, Scene 2)

Mankind has told stories throughout the generations, fascinating and enthralling one another with tales of woe, humour and passion. The power of a story has always lain primarily within our desire to observe characters that we can relate to, believe in and understand. That is perhaps the area in which Shakespeare's works have always excelled, as he masterfully utilises numerous devices to draw the audience into his character's minds. The most prominent example of this is his frequent use of soliloquies throughout Hamlet. Through this literary device, Hamlet unveils to us the intricacies of his heart and soul, most specifically his anger, selfishness and gullibility.

At the end of Act 2, Hamlet’s soliloquy ‘Oh what a rogue and peasant slave I am I?’ conveys his emotional upheaval at the events around him. Throughout this speech, his emotional journey takes him from self-disgust to solving the act.
The soliloquy concerns Hamlet's delay of action. He feels ashamed that he has not avenged his father's death with the speed and expression exhibited by the actors in the play. Hamlet compares his inaction to the dramatic expression the actor exhibits for the death of his character's father. “What would he do, / Had he the motive and cue for passion/ That I have” (II, ii, 512-514) Hamlet is amazed that the actor can conjure such emotions without a real impetus, while he is incapable of doing anything in response to his father's murder. Hamlet then calls himself a coward for his inability to say anything in defence of his father. “Am I a coward” (II, ii, 523) This is ironic because he is concentrating on the actor's expression of grief, not a proactive response, which will only inhibit one's action. Hamlet never discusses the act of vengeance, only the actor's ability to cleave the general ear with “horrid speech” (II, ii, 515). Hamlet also displays his low self-esteem in this soliloquy as he sarcastically describes his inaction. This is most brave, “That I, the son of a dear father murdered, Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell, Must like a whore unpack my heart with words And fall a-cursing like a very drab…(II, ii, 536-539). Hamlet is his own worst critic throughout the play. Through this statement, Hamlet incites himself to the point that he plans some action....

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Uploaded by:   xsparklyvix

Date:   09/05/2005

Category:   Hamlet

Length:   3 pages (719 words)

Views:   60929

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