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.
- His thoughts are “one part wisdom and ever three parts coward” in that he has the capabilities of using reason and thinking, however the fear of the aftermath or the action itself holds him back.
Hamlet compares himself to Price Fortinbras, who he describes as a delicate and tender prince.
- Hamlet and Fortinbras are both princes. Hamlet compares himself with prince Fortinbras and draws a similarity that they are both delicate and tender, or innocent. I believe that Hamlet acknowledges that he is no different to a common man, but Fortinbras is able to “make mouths at the invisible event” because he is puffed with “divine ambition”. In that, he puts his own life at risk, exposing it to danger and death.
- Hamlet juxtaposes his reasons for action against Fortinbras. Hamlet has the “cause, will, strength and means” for action, however has done nothing. On the other hand, Fortinbras’ reasons are as thin as an “egg-shell”, and yet he risks his life and exposes what is “mortal and unsure”
- He recognises that to be truly great doesn’t mean you’d only fight for a good reason, but it means that you’d “find quarrel in a straw” or, fight over nothing when “honours at the stake”. Fortinbras is able to do this, Hamlet is not.
Hamlet has reasons that are like his blood
- Blood is essentially for life and keeps your body functioning at a healthy level. Because he has not fulfilled his fathers wishes to avenge his death, he feels that his ‘blood’ is being corrupted, and therefore he cannot continue to live knowing that he hasn’t done this yet.
Hamlet is able to “let all sleep”
- Despite having a “father killed and a mother stained”, he is able to “let all sleep”. Hamlet uses the image of sleeping as a means of showing that he is ignoring the mental and emotion provocations, and merely letting them go.
Shamefully, Hamlet watches the “imminent death of twenty thousand men” that will go to their “grave like beds”.
– Simile used to draw a comparison between the grave and the bed. The grave represents the end of a life, and a place where people go when they die. The bed represents the end of a day, a place where people go to rest. He is essentially saying that these men will all die, as if it were their job to. Hyperbole to describe that they are fighting for a tiny piece of land there is “not tomb enough and continent” to bury them all.
From now on, if my thoughts aren’t violent I’ll consider them worthless.
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