Hamlet Deep Dive: Best Answer [2022]

Hamlet

Hamlet Deep Dive: Best Answer [2022]

Hamlet

“Among the surprises in Hamlet is Claudius’ soliloquy in Act III, scene 3, in which Hamlet’s uncle expresses his sense of helpless guilt over his brother’s murder. He speaks of his desire to pray for forgiveness yet acknowledges that none will be forthcoming so long as he retains the crown. Readers of the play- who tend to take Hamlet’s view of Claudius- have often assumed that this merely shows Claudius to still be in the thrall of the sinful desire that (Hamlet believes) had prompted the crime.

On this view, Claudius’s prayers are halfhearted, or insincere. And yet his words in the soliloquy give no direct indication of this. Consider this alternative possibility: Claudius might sincerely believe that he owes it to his people (or to Gertrude) to remain king. (See the conversation of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern earlier in the scene.) If that were so, what would be its implications for interpreting the dramatic situation and action of the play? For instance- what light would it cast on Hamlet’s soliloquy in the same scene?” The paper would be trying to find how the play would chance if we thought Claudius was legitimately repentant and responsible

Analysis: Hamlet

“To be, or not to be” is the most famous line in English literature. What does it mean? Why are these words and what follows special?

One reason is that they are a stunning example of Shakespeare’s ability to make his characters seem three-dimensional. The audience senses that there is more to words than meets the ear—that there is something behind his words that is never spoken. Or, to put it another way, the audience witnesses signs of something within Hamlet’s mind that even he isn’t aware of.

In the first place, Hamlet doesn’t talk directly about what he’s really talking about. When he questions whether it is better “to be, or not to be,” the obvious implication is, “Should I kill myself?” The entire soliloquy strongly suggests that he is toying with suicide and perhaps trying to work up his courage to do it. But at no point does he say that he is in pain or discuss why he wants to kill himself. In fact, he never says “I” or “me” in the entire speech. He’s not trying to “express” himself at all; instead, he poses the question as a matter of philosophical debate.

 

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