Within ‘Hamlet’ there are many different mood changes of the main character these are shown clearly through the soliloquies.A soliloquy is a long speech spoken by one character; it shows the characters true inner feelings and usually shows what they are really like.
Soliloquies are very useful in ‘Hamlet’ as it is a short summary of the plot so far and shows what Hamlet is really thinking at a particular point in the play. Without using soliloquies the play would become confusing as the audience will not know what main character is really thinking as it helps us to understand Hamlet’s actions or inactions.I will hope to show how soliloquies are used in the ‘Hamlet’ to show the different mood changes of the main protagonist (Hamlet). I will then examine why Hamlet is feeling like this and what effect is has on the audience.The first soliloquy is in Act 1 scene 2 (page 95) before the soliloquy we find out that Hamlet’s father has recently passed away, not long after Hamlet’s mother marries Claudius. Within the soliloquy Hamlet shows many feelings, these are: anger, disgust, suicidal and disappointment.
Hamlet begins talking about suicide “O that this too too solid flesh would melt” he is talking about how he wants to melt away like a candle; this shows us how upset he is as he is considering suicide. However Hamlet does not go through with this because he says “his cannon against self-slaughter. “O God, God” this shows us that he may be religious because he now stops thinking about it, it also shows us that he may be confused because he changes moods many times. This will show the audience that Hamlet is very unstable at this point in time because he does not know what he wants. Within this Shakespeare uses a metaphor to describe his father; this creates a tense mood as well as giving us a clear idea of what he feels towards his father.Later on within this soliloquy Hamlet begins to talk about his father “so excellent a king, that was to this Hyperion to a satyr, so loving to my mother” this shows us that Hamlet thinks highly of his father and it also reveals that his father loved his mother a great deal.
He also says that Claudius is half man half goat; this shows the audience how much Hamlet hates Claudius as he is describing him as being not human. This will interest the audience as he hates Claudius a lot and because he is going through many different emotions such as anger and disgust he may do something that he will regret. This makes the audience feel disgust towards Claudius as the audience would have fallen for Hamlet and at the moment it seems as he is to blame for the range of emotions that Hamlet is showing.Hamlet is disgusted with his mother and questions her love for his father. He says “A little month, or ere those shoes were old with which she followed my poor fathers body like Niobe, all tears, why she, even she” this shows us that although Hamlets mother was dressed for the occasion but it makes us think as to whether she was actually feeling upset as she has moved on so quickly. He says that she did not mourn for his father and even “a beast that wants discourse of reason would have mourned longer” this shows the audience that he is not happy with his mother because she has moved on so quickly “married with my uncle, my fathers brother, but no more like my father than I to Hercules” this creates tension within the play because we do not know what Hamlet will do because of the range of emotions that he is going through within this soliloquy.
At the end of the soliloquy Hamlet says “but break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue” this shows us that Hamlet has decided that he is not going to say anything. This will keep the audience interested because we know that Hamlet is disgusted and does not approve with the actions of Gertrude and Claudius, however he feels as if he should not express his feelings as it is not his place to say anything and this will make the audience think how long his silence will last.Evidently there are many different moods shown in the first soliloquy. This soliloquy is very effective as it shows us clearly what Hamlet is thinking. The audience will be very interested up to this point as they will be unsure of what Hamlet really wants because he is changing moods so quickly.The next soliloquy within ‘Hamlet’ occurs in Act 2 Scene 2 before the soliloquy occurs Hamlet meets with the ghost of his father and the he tells him that Claudius had killed him by poisoning him by the ear, he then tells him to take revenge.
Hamlet wishes to take revenge by creating a play which will be shown to Claudius and Gertrude, the play will represent what has happened to him. Hamlet intends to scare Claudius.In this soliloquy Hamlet says “O what a rogue and peasant slave I am!” in this Hamlet is showing that he is annoyed but it may also show that he may be scared. Hamlet may be annoyed because he feels as he is being treated like a slave because he has to do everything his dad has told him to do in order to take revenge on Claudius; however, he may also be scared to do this because he may feel as he cannot kill someone. This shows us that Hamlet is quite unstable at the moment because at the moment he is feeling anger towards Claudius but deep down Hamlet is not capable of taking out these actions. This keeps the audience interested as they would want to see as to whether he is going to listen to the ghost or himself.During the practising of the play that hamlet is organising to role play the situation that he is in, Hamlet begins to question the acting skills of one of the actors “tears in his eyes, distraction in’s aspect, a broken voice, and his whole function suiting with forms to his own conceit? And all for nothing” this shows us that hamlet says how can a man who has not been through a situation like this cry as if he has. He then begins to ask himself what the actor would do if this was really happening to him because surely he would be a lot worse if he was in this situation.
“That he would weep for her? What would he do” When acting this on stage the actor will be alone, he should speak passionate as well as confused, showing the audience that he does not understand how someone can act as if they have been through this situation when they do not know how it feels.Later on in the soliloquy, Hamlet’s mood changes dramatically, he is now beginning to hate himself “yet I, a dull muddy-mettled rascal” this shows us that Hamlet is beginning to show self disgust, this will keep the audience interested because again it shows us that he is insecure and that he may do something which is irrational. It may also make the audience think as to whether he is now going to tell his mother what he really thinks about her and Claudius.Hamlet then begins to show anger when he says “bloody, bawdy, villain! Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!” again hamlet changes his mood very dramatically, this is creating tension because what he says now is quite strong and powerful, this leads the audience to think that he is going to do something to Claudius soon because he hates him a lot. Within this Shakespeare has used many techniques which make this soliloquy a lot more effective.
The first technique that Shakespeare uses is alliteration “bloody, bawdy” this makes it a lot more powerful as these words when said seem quite aggressive. The second technique that is used is repetition (Hamlet says villain twice) when someone is angry they usually repeat what they say, again this technique shows us how angry Hamlet really is. The last technique that is used is rhyme, by using rhyme these words come of the tongue very easily but again seems very aggressive.
All the anger ends by Hamlet saying “Oh, vengeance!” this is effective because it immediately finishes of this aggressive speech that would have got the audience interested and eager to see what he is going to do, this is like a sigh of relief as he does not want to talk about his feelings towards Claudius anymore because he is scared of what he may do. By Shakespeare doing this it shows us to the extent of how angry Hamlet actually is towards Claudius. kHamlet’s mood changes again, he now feels as if the ghost is a devil telling lies to make him kill Claudius “prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell”This will show the audience that Hamlet does not know what to think because once he seems sure of something he changes his feelings and questions something else.
This may suggest that he is mad or that because of everything that is happening to him he is unsure of what to think resulting in him continuously changing his moods.Although Hamlet is questioning whether the ghost is real, he again considers the fact of what Claudius would feel like if the play goes successfully. He says “the plays the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king” this is a sudden change in emotion, this makes us wonder if Hamlet is thinking about what he is saying, this makes us question how sane Hamlet actually is because he himself does not know what to believe. The rhyming couplet used makes the line catchy and will keep the audience remembering this line throughout the play, making them think what will really happen. This line also suggests that with this play he hopes to get Claudius feeling guilty. By doing this it means that Hamlet does not have to kill Claudius himself as if he gets the king feeling mad he may do it himself.The emotions shown within this soliloquy vary slightly to the ones shown within the first soliloquy.
For example within the first soliloquy he feels suicidal, although he shows self disgust there is no mention of him talking about suicide. This may suggest that Hamlet may no longer wish to commit suicide. Hamlet seems to be a lot more confused within the second than in the first, for example in the first soliloquy Hamlet focuses on grieving more however in the second soliloquy he is considering things a lot more such as if the ghost is telling the truth. The signs of anger also seem to be a lot stronger within the second soliloquy; this shows us that as the story progresses Hamlet begins to become more and more angry, this makes us think how far he would go later as the play develops, this creates tension as we do not know what he is going to do.
Up to this point soliloquies have played a major part in ‘Hamlet’ as if they weren’t within the play we would not know what he is really thinking and would not know what his character is really like.The last soliloquy again shows a range of emotions and mood changes. These are a mixture from the first and second soliloquy but we also see some emotions which have not yet been shown by Hamlet.
“To be, or not to be, that is the question” Hamlet is again considering suicide, he is unsure of what to do next. This creates a tense atmosphere within the audience as Hamlet had considered suicide before but he came back on his word, however he is talking about it again and now he may mean it because he is reconsidering it. If this was to be acted out on stage Hamlet will be weeping and showing signs of distress, this will help the audience to empathise with him. Hamlet again questions life “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them” he questions whether he should cope with life’s struggles such as deaths of people close to him or if he should just give up.
This creates a very tense atmosphere as it is very different to soliloquy one because in soliloquy one he changes his mind and says how he does not want to commit suicide anymore but up till now he has not yet changed his mind meaning that he may actually be considering it. This creates a lot of tension because the main protagonist within ‘Hamlet’ may commit suicide.Hamlet carries on considering death ‘to die, to sleep- no more; and by sleep to say we end the heart ache and the thousand natural shocks’ this shows us that he is sort of looking forward to this because it could take away all of his pains.
Throughout this soliloquy Hamlet carries on considering suicide as he starts thinking that this is the last resort as he cannot take any of the pains that life brings with it. The audience will be very worried for him as he has not stopped thinking about it. It will also make the audience think what is going to happen next because if the main protagonist dies it leaves us thinking how the play ‘Hamlet’ will end.In conclusion Hamlet has shown many emotions throughout the play. These emotions have sometimes repeated in some of the soliloquies. In soliloquy one Hamlet showed signs of disgust, this was not shown again in any of the soliloquies however suicide was shown again in soliloquy three, the suicidal emotion was a lot stronger in soliloquy three as he did not change his mind. Soliloquy two did not show signs of suicide however the emotions changed very quickly within it.
This created a lot of tension for the audience as we could empathise with how strong Hamlet’s feelings were. Confusion was shown in both soliloquy one and soliloquy two, however it was shown more in soliloquy two because Hamlet was considering a lot more things.I think that soliloquy two was the most effective soliloquy of the three because it gave a clear idea to the audience of what he is feeling and how strong these feelings were, it was also a lot more interesting because the range of moods shown.
The second most soliloquy in my opinion was the first one because again we learn a lot more. Lastly comes the third soliloquy, the reason why I think that it comes last is because it focuses on only one type of emotion but the others focus on a lot more. Also the other two soliloquies made the story a lot clearer as he related to things which have happened in the play.Soliloquies overall have been very effective within ‘Hamlet’ as it has made the protagonists feelings a lot clearer for the audience and has helped me understand a lot more of the plot.