Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Study Guide; Hamlet's Soliloquy

In Act 1 Scene 5, Hamlet reflects what’s life is like without his father. In the soliloquy, Shakespeare describes Hamlet as a weak and insane person. Shakespeare is able to this through use of tone, word choice, and repetition.In the first part of Hamlet’s soliloquy, I believe Hamlet’s fall to the ground because he just cannot physically stand up anymore. He looks up at the sky for a quick moment then falls shortly afterwards. Thinking about his father knocks his off of his feet and the thought also affects his breathing. Hamlet sounds like he is short of breath. Also, in the clip, Hamlet looks up towards the sky as if the sky is King Hamlet and whispers “remember thee”. It’s like Hamlet is telling his father not to forget him and he will meet up with him in heaven. “O all you host of heaven! O earth! And shall I couple hell?” (92-93). I believe the reference of heaven, earth, and hell is significant. Hamlet references to earth because he is living on earth at the very moment, but he feels like living on the earth is “hell”. Halmet wants to be in heaven with his father. When the actor Hamlet speaks from line 92-95, his eyes are closed. It’s like he can’t come to grasp reality. He can’t live without his father. He needs him in his life. “O fie, hold, hold, my heart”, the word fie, as I looked up meant disgust. I think Shakespeare uses fie to describe his uncle. Hamlet’s uncle is fie and is holding his heart. The uncle is holding Hamlet’s heart as to break it or destroy it in a physical manor. But Hamlet’s uncle did already break his heart, mentally, when he killed King Hamlet. In the middle of the soliloquy, Hamlet finally rises from the ground. As Hamlet rises, there is dark music in the background and his breathing grows harsher. His voice also becomes harsh and painful. His eyes are closed, just like the beginning of the soliloquy. His eyes also appear to grow larger. He is screaming, and his screaming is geared towards his mother, Queen Gertrude. He calls his mother a “pernicious woman”, as if she does not deserve a name. This is another sign of how Shakespeare describes Hamlet insanity. Most young boys will not call their mother a “pernicious woman.” Also, Hamlet makes a reference to Denmark. “And smile, and be a villain”, Shakespeare writes as if Hamlet ever had the chance to send his mother to Denmark, he would. And Denmark at this time is a prison, so Hamlet wanting to condemn his mother to Denmark shows his madness. At the end of the soliloquy, Hamlet’s voice is harsher than ever before and his eyes grow wider. He ends his soliloquy with “So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word.” It is “Aideu, aideu! Remember me.” I believe these lines are foreshadowing how Hamlet is going to kill his uncle. . “Now to my word”, this is Hamlet’s promise for his father to carry on the deed of what he told him to do. And the deed is to kill the current king. Also in the video, Hamlet recites these lines he is slowly raising his sword, as if he is practicing how to kill him. Through use of word choice, tone, and repetition, Shakespeare is able to captivate his reader’s mind to believe the insanity and weakness of Hamlet. Repetition usually is a sign of insanity and this is the main reason why I believe that Shakespeare choose to repeat many words in the soliloquy.

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