Hamlet's Soliloquy Essay

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As the story of Hamlet progresses we slowly learn more about the very complex character, Hamlet. We continue to learn more in Hamlet’s famous “To Be or Not to Be” soliloquy, in which we see a darker side of his feelings. Before the soliloquy, the appearance of his father’s ghost and his mother’s marriage have caused him to be in a panicked state. In this soliloquy, Hamlet ponders the question, “To be or Not to Be”, which is contemplating the decision of ending this life. Through the utilization of literary devices, such as, metaphor and metonymy, Shakespeare is able to convey Hamlet’s struggle in understanding this world while also using an antithesis to contrast ideas and draw attention to the beginning of the soliloquy. Throughout Hamlet,…show more content…
To die--to sleep, / No more; and by a sleep to say we end.” Since the soliloquy is constantly questioning the afterlife, the relation of sleep to death has two potential meanings. On one hand, it could be used to represent death as a lifeless and mindless experience, where there is nothing. But, when one sleeps, they often dream. Similar to how no one knows if a night of sleep will produce a dream, Hamlet is unsure of what will come in the afterlife. Due to the possibility of an even more painful afterlife, Hamlet begins questioning whether it would be worse than his suffering on Earth, causing him to once again, question death. Perhaps one of the most famous lines in history, “To Be or Not to Be”, is an example of an antithesis. In this line, the similar structure of the two part question forces you to consider them to be related, but, in contrast, the two parts are complete opposites. Due to the idea of killing himself being so distasteful, the only way Hamlet can phrase this question is in the impersonal way presented. This use of an antithesis draws the reader to the first line and it parallels with themes presented throughout the play. These themes include the inability to be certain and death’s

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