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Soliloquies of Shakespeare’s Hamlet – Hamlet’s Third Soliloquy

Hamlet’s Third Soliloquy

One of Shakespeare’s most celebrated works is the play The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Hamlet, the main character, endures many of the misfortunes of life that the average – and not-so average – person might suffer. Hamlet’s father dies a suspicious death and his mother hastily remarries, he bears the trauma of a lost relationship with a girl he seems to truly love, realizes the truth about his own uncle’s involvement in his father’s death, and experiences all of this in the public eye. What makes Hamlet’s character particularly captivating in comparison to most of Shakespeare’s others is the fact that he seems to really come alive with thought and emotion. Hamlet goes through the motions of the grief following the loss of his father and the sense of betrayal he feels when he learns that Claudius is responsible for the death, not to mention the fact that his mother quickly married the murderer. The weight of these emotions pushes Hamlet to the edge of his limits, and soon he reaches the point of contemplating death.

In the first scene of the third act, Hamlet utters a thoughtful soliloquy regarding the matters of life and suicide. This soliloquy seems to be one of the most believable moments in a Shakespearean play, as every person faces at least one such dramatic, self-contemplative moment in a lifetime. The reader or audience is able to understand Hamlet’s thoughts despite Shakespeare’s thick and lengthy writing style. Hamlet here begins with the famous line, “To be or not to be – that is the question” (III, i, 64), a line quite often copied or even satired due to its candor and depth. Hamlet immediat…

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… Shakespeare uses Hamlet’s third soliloquy to contemplate, if not confront the fears that plague the human heart. Reasoning brings mankind to the fear of the unknown – both in the afterlife and in the present – for one cannot know what the future holds, and there is no safety in that. For what seems to be the first time, Shakespeare’s words extend beyond the pretentiousness of Elizabethan English and into a universal language. He focuses less on word play and more on the message behind the words. With Hamlet’s voice, Shakespeare contemplates life, death, fear, and fearlessness to find the roots of man’s drive to action and the reason why those actions sometimes fall through. Hamlet’s soliloquy, for which William Shakespeare is responsible, is truly one of the most unique and honest moments in any play in history.

traglear Tragic Character in King Lear

The Tragic Character in King Lear

In William Shakespeare’s King Lear, the similar events that Lear and Gloucester experience result in a parallel plot sequence for the story. Lear and Gloucester are similar characters because they are experiencing similar problems while playing the role of a father. Their children also have a similar eagerness for power, a problem that both Lear and Gloucester should not have to deal with while addressing serious mental and physical dilemmas. And although the two characters are very similar, the story of King Lear is tragic, and Gloucester’s is not.

Lear’s tragedy is a result of bringing fate upon himself, which in turn stripes Lear of everything, and only in his final moments does Lear resolve some of his problems with a catharsis. To ensure that Lear’s story is indeed tragic while Gloucester’s is not, an examination of tragedy is necessary. Also, the overall situation and well being of the two characters is helpful in deciding who brings upon their own problems, and who becomes a victim throughout the play. Decisions made by Lear are also determining factors of tragedy, even from the very beginning of the play. The events that Lear and Gloucester experience are similar, but their positions in society are different. Consequences are much higher for mistakes made by Kings, rather than mistakes made by the Earl of Gloucester.

Aristotle says that a real tragedy is an imitation of an action that is serious or grave involving someone of elevated status. The same person, however, brought demise to one’s own self and to the surrounding characters. When Lear gives up his kingdom to his daughters, he has completely ceased any continuation of the family’s lineage to the throne. Also lost along with …

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…aw: full oft’t is seen, our means secure us, and our mere defects prove our commodities.” (p. 78) Only after the attack did Gloucester become a character with better vision.

The character King Lear fit Aristotle’s definition of tragedy. He was a lofty character that brought about his own misfortune, and in the end of the play experienced a moment of catharsis. Gloucester was not a tragic figure, for few people created concerns for the old man with grave misfortune during the play. If Lear would have lived longer, or if foolish decisions were not made, Lear’s story would not have been a tragedy. If Lear did not have his greedy children deceiving him, they would not have let their father lose control of the Kingdom, as well as the family lineage to the throne. The disasters could have been avoided, but they were not, so the story becomes a tragedy.

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