Hamlet’s 7th Soliloquy is seen as a major turning point in the play of Hamlet. This analysis will cover, what I see, as the significant points within this soliloquy that help in tracing the development of Hamlet’s state of mind.
HAMLET ACT 4 SCENE 4
MAIN IDEA: Major TP for Hamlet’s state of mind. Prior to this soliloquy, Hamlet was unable to take revenge on his Uncle Claudius, despite learning that he had murdered his father. This soliloquy see’s Hamlet exploring the attributes of his tragic flaw and coming to a realisation that he can overcome it.
Throughout the six soliloquies prior to this, Hamlets state of mind has deteriorated. In Act 1 Scene 2, Hamlet wants to leave his current life by wishing that his “too too solid flesh would melt and resolve itself into a dew”. In Act 2 Scene 2, Hamlet calls himself a “rogue and peasant slave”. He cannot understand how a player can “drown the stage with tears” for Hecuba, a fictitious character, whereas Hamlet cannot do the same for his own father. In Act 3 Scene 1 Hamlet ponders the perennial question “to be or not to be”, and in Act 3 Scene 3, he has an opportunity to kill Claudius while he is praying but fears that he will go to heaven, so will wait until he is “drunk asleep” or “in rage”.
“How all occasions do inform against me, and spur my dull revenge”
- Hamlet realises that everything he sees shows him how wrong he is, and so he should hurry up and get on with his revenge.
“What is a man is he be but to sleep and feed”
- We are made with a “large discourse” and “that capability and god-like reason to fust in us unused” – We weren’t made with such capabilities and divine capacities to think and reason in order for us not to use them.
- We are no different to a beast if we just eat and sleep.
- Even after Hamlet realises that his “native hue of resolution is sicklied o’er by the pale cast of thought” he still did not act and take revenge on Claudius.
Hamlet begins to question whether he has lost his sense of instinct “bestial oblivion”, or if he is simply hesitating due to fear “craven scruple of thinking too precisely of the event”.
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