How does Hamlet’s soliloquies contribute to the play?

Hamlet is one of the greatest tragic play written by Elizabethan Age writer and biggest playwright of English literature William Shakespeare. It is a play about revenge tragedy of a son i.e. main protagonist of the play, Prince Hamlet.

Prince Hamlet of Denmark returns to attend his father’s funeral where a spirit elaborates the know- how of his father’s death. King of Denmark was killed by his brother Claudius by pouring poison in his ear. To reveal the truth behind the spirit of his father, Prince Hamlet pretends to be a mad man. Prince Hamlet by the critics has been examined in the light of philosophical notions such as appearance vs reality or idealism vs pragmatism.

All the soliloquies have significant role to move the play forward as these soliloquies reveals the mindset of the characters specifically Prince Hamlet. Hamlet’s soliloquies are as much as like a direct message, it’s like a direct interaction to the audience. Hamlet’s soliloquies appear in few particular scenes which reveals what actually is going to happen now and next in the play.  Through these soliloquies for instance, the idea of death, decay and corruption and both the body as well as mind and soul has caught reader’s attention.

The soliloquies marks Hamlet’s recognition that the world is full of both evil and good. A world in which Hyperion and satyr are brothers. In the play Prince Hamlet’s mother conduct pains the most to Hamlet.

This is how each soliloquy advances the plot and reveals Hamlet’s inner thoughts to the audience and helps to create an atmosphere where audience are able to know the upcoming circumstances in the play.

For ex; In Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’ its soliloquy demonstrates to the audience that he is going crazy, which simply reveals the state of mind of the characters like Hamlet.

Therefore, the soliloquies emphasize the idea of the delay in the mental  make-up of Hamlet as well as the delay of embedded in the plot-structure of the play. They reveal Hamlet given to self-reflection and excessively speculative, indecisive and irresolute. The soliloquies reveal the tragic flaw that turns Hamlet into tragedy and Hamlet as the prime agent who brings about the tragic denouement. Hamlet thinks too much, he weighs the consequences of action to such an excessive length that action postponed as reflection takes the place of action itself.

In a sense, one can characterize all the soliloquies as variations on the same theme, an obsessive concern with his mother’s incestuous conduct and the contamination that he feels has befouled him as her son.

TO BE OR NOT TO BE……….. is the most famous soliloquy, in which prince Hamlet is wondering whether life or death is preferable, whether it is better to allow himself to be tormented by all wrongs that he considers ‘outrageous fortune’ bestowed on him, or to arm himself and fight against them and bring them to an end. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the main purpose of a soliloquy is to tell you how character of the play feel.

One thought on “How does Hamlet’s soliloquies contribute to the play?

  1. Rebecca Cuningham 3 Oct 2022 / 2:07 pm

    Thank you for talking about this important play and making it more accessible. I had the chance to see Hamlet last week with my teen’s middle school class in an outdoor theater. It was well performed and exciting to see. I like to think of soliloquies as the precursor to the movie voice over telling us the character’s thoughts and feelings. Hamlet is very disturbed about his mother’s behavior. I wonder whether she was in on the plot to kill her husband or whether she was forced to marry his brother or be killed herself. Hamlet was out of town and she was vulnerable. Thanks for your site on literature!

    Liked by 1 person

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