Soliliquies in William Shakespeare's "Hamlet"

Essay by H0LLYW00D_HUNNi_27High School, 11th gradeA+, May 2006

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Through out William Shakespeare's plays, he uses soliloquies to let the audience in on the private thoughts of various characters. Although Shakespearean language is difficult to understand, he makes his intentions clearer through these various soliloquies which he employs.

One of Shakespeare's most famous soliloquies, known as "to be or not to be", is in the play 'Hamlet'. Hamlet's soliloquy is interrupted when he hears Ophelia praying and notices she is coming toward him. During this soliloquy, Hamlet seems to be considering suicide. He is wondering whether it is more courageous to continue living in pain and suffering or if killing himself would be a more noble thing to do. Also, Hamlet is having a debate within himself as to the advantages and disadvantages of being alive at all. He is wondering about his very existence.

The Catholic Church was a dominant figure during Hamlet's time, and believed suicide was a mortal sin.

Hamlet, along with his family, were very firm believers in the church, a force which I believe greatly impacted Hamlet's final decision (he didn't know what would happen to him if he was to commit such a sin) as to whether or not he should continue his life.

When Hamlet states "...for in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil," Hamlet fears what may happen to him, to his soul, after death, if he was to take his own life. Hamlet relates the reason for not killing him self to the very reasons that people don't take action in general- fear of the unknown. If you were to take action, there is a chance you might fail, make things worse, etc. Instead of taking action and making change, people prefer to deal...