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Posted: September 18th, 2023

Prince Hamlet’s first soliloquy from Act 1, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s Hamlet

1302 Hamlet. Choose ONE of the following prompts to answer. Write between 5 and 10 sentences, and make sure you answer all parts of the the question fully! Don’t worry about using MLA or citatations for this assignment.

In 1.2, Claudius and Gertrude have some advice for Hamlet regarding his feelings about his father’s death. Keeping in mind that the King was Claudius’s brother and Gertrude’s husband, what does this advice tell us about their feelings towards the dead king? What do we know about their characters (personalities)?
Read Claudius’s speech in 1.2.1-39. Keeping in mind that the country is mourning the loss of their King and preparing for war, what does this speech tell us about his motives?
Analyze Prince Hamlet’s first soliloquy (1.2.129-158). What does it tell us about him? What does it tell us about King Hamlet and his relationship with Queen Gertrude? What does it tell us about Prince Hamlet’s feelings towards his mother? Towards the dead King?

Prince Hamlet’s first soliloquy from Act 1, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Hamlet’s first soliloquy reveals much about his mental state and feelings towards his family after his father’s death. He expresses deep sadness and grief over King Hamlet’s death, referring to him as his “father figure” and the one who was “so loving to my mother” (lines 135-136). This shows the close bond between King Hamlet and Queen Gertrude.
Hamlet is then shocked and dismayed to find his mother Gertrude remarrying his uncle Claudius only a month after King Hamlet’s death. He sees this hasty remarriage as inappropriate and disrespectful to his late father’s memory (lines 137-139). Hamlet’s words “within a month” and “O, most wicked speed” convey his sense of disbelief and disapproval towards Gertrude.
Hamlet is also confused and suspicious about the circumstances surrounding King Hamlet’s death. He questions whether his father’s “virtues will plead like angels” against whatever “incestuous sheets” Gertrude now shares with Claudius (lines 140-142). This hints at Hamlet’s early doubts and suspicions regarding the true cause and nature of his father’s death.
In summary, Hamlet’s first soliloquy reveals his deep grief over his father’s death, disapproval of his mother Gertrude’s quick remarriage, and the beginning of his suspicions that all is not what it seems regarding how and why his father truly died (Brandes, 2020; Shakespeare, 2016). It provides crucial insights into Hamlet’s mental state and troubled family dynamics in the wake of King Hamlet’s passing.
Brandes, J. (2020). Hamlet’s first soliloquy: An analysis. The British Library. https://www.bl.uk/shakespeare/articles/hamlets-first-soliloquy-an-analysis

Shakespeare, W. (2016). Hamlet. Simon & Schuster.

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