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The Hamlet Soliloquies

            "To be or not to be that is the question" (Hamlet. i 56) is one of the most famous quotes in English literature. This quotation is the opening line from Hamlet's most famous soliloquy in which he is contemplating his fate, as he debates whether to take his own life as an end to all of his enemies. Hamlet's world is bleak and cold because he feels that almost no one and nothing can be trusted. Hamlet channels his emotions through his seven soliloquies in the play. With dealing with the sudden and tragic loss of his father, Hamlet must now face the cold reality of his mother's marriage to his uncle only after two short months after his father's untimely death. Hamlet discovers that Claudius (his uncle) murdered his father to become the king of Denmark. These tragic circumstances in Hamlet's life are the cause of his depression and desire of revenge against his father's killer. "It is a commonplace of Hamlet criticism that there is a divide in Hamlet's character between "thought" and "action", a division of which he is himself aware. However, in the soliloquies themselves, Hamlet is essentially involved in thought rather than action and the polarity he experiences is instead between rational thought and emotional outbursts" (Duffy and Pearce). There is a huge disconnect with Hamlet's extreme thoughts and his delayed actions. He speaks of committing suicide then he changes his mind. He speaks of killing the newly appointed King but then refuses when he sees him praying. If his ultimate goal was to avenge his father's death, nothing should have stopped him. Hamlet's vague moral viewpoints stalled his goals and indirectly caused his tragic end. Joanna Montgomery Byles states in her essay, "Tragic Alternatives: Ego and Superego Revenge in Hamlet'" that "the concept of the superego is important to our understanding of the dynamics of aggressive destruction in Shakespeare's tragedies involving vengeance" (Byles).

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