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Home » , » What is soliloquy? Comment on the use of soliloquies in Hamlet.
A soliloquy is a speech in which a character expresses his feelings and thoughts while he is alone on the stage. In other words, Soliloquy is a speech in which a character speaks his thought without addressing a listener. It is an accepted dramatic convention and is an important technique to reveal the mind of the character. However, in the course of the play, Hamlet has seven long soliloquies.

The first soliloquy occurs before he has seen the Ghost. In this Soliloquy, Hamlet reveals the grief that has been annoying in his mind. He wishes that religion did not forbid suicide so that he could kill himself and be rid of this grief. He deplores the fact that his mother should have remarried barely two months after the death of her first husband. The Soliloquy shows Hamlet's meditative nature. We note hamlet's generalizing tendency when he says, "Frailty -thy name is women !"His second soliloquy comes just after the Ghost leaves him, after charging him with the duty of taking revenge upon the murderer of his father. Hamlet resolves to wipe out everything else from his memory and to remember only the Ghost's command. We again note his generalizing tendency when he says that"one may smile, and smile, and be a villain."

In his third soliloquy, Hamlet bitterly scolds himself for having failed to execute his revenge so far. Then he dwells upon his plan to stage a play saying-
"The play's the thing, Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the  king"
Hamlet now seeks confirmation of the Ghost's charge against Claudius. This is rather strange; because it has taken him long to doubt the authenticity of the Ghost's version.

Hamlet's fourth soliloquy, his most famous and most celebrated, is the most philosophical of all. Here we have a mental debate,  with the speaker on the horns of a dilemma-"To be, or not to: that is the question ". Hamlet asks himself whether it is nobler to suffer the cruelties of fate silently or to put up a fight against the misfortunes of life. It would be better perhaps to commit suicide if death were to mean a total extinction of consciousness. In his fifth soliloquy, Hamlet describes his mood as one in which he could "drink hot blood, and do such bitter business as the day would quake to look on."In this mood, he can even kill his mother, but he would not follow Nero's example -"Let me be cruel, not unnaturally."

Hamlet's sixth soliloquy shows him shrinking from an act for which he has long been preparing and for which he now gets an excellent opportunity. Hamlet's reason for not killing his uncle at this moment is that the uncle is in prayers and that killing him at such a time Hamlet would be sending him straight to heaven, Hamlet decides to wait for an opportunity when his uncle is drunk asleep, or in his rage. His last soliloquy is again full of self-reproach -
"How all occasion does inform against me And spur my dull revenge!"
To sum up, we may say that the soliloquies of  Hamlet undoubtedly throw a flood of light on his character and personality. These soliloquies enable us to understand his reason for delaying his revenge. They show Hamlet to be a scholar, a philosopher, and a poet.


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