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Home » , » Explain the fourth soliloquy of Hamlet

We meet a series of soliloquies in the world-famous tragedy,  Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Hamlet makes several of them. Among them,  his second is not less significant than his previous ones.

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. But the fear of what may happen to us after death makes us endure the ills and injustices of life. This soliloquy,  more than any other,  reveals the speculative temperament of Hamlet and his incapacity for any premeditated action of a momentous nature. His catalog of the misfortunes of life once again shows his generalizing habit of thought. This soliloquy partly explains Hamlet's delay in carrying out his purpose and shows at the same time the mental torture that he has been undergoing because of that delay. We here see a sensitive,  reflective person compelled to face a situation with which he is unable to cope.

As a matter of fact,  this soliloquy of Hamlet undoubtedly throws a flood of light on his character and personality. This shows Hamlet to be a scholar,  a philosopher, and a poet. 


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