Imagery, Diction, And Rhetorical Devices In Hamlet's Soliloquies

1284 Words 6 Pages
Throughout all of Shakespeare’s works, he uses soliloquies to help the reader better understand the characters true feelings and advance the plot. An example of a famous Shakespearean work with many soliloquies is the tragedy, Hamlet. In Hamlet, Shakespeare inserts many soliloquies from the main characters to help us better understand the emotions and turmoil that may be happening in their brains. One of the most famous soliloquies from Hamlet is found in Act II, Scene ii, which describes the emotional turmoil Hamlet feels towards his uncle and his mother, who married shortly after his father’s unjust death. Shakespeare also uses imagery, diction, and rhetorical devices in the soliloquy in order to show the theme of mortality in the overall …show more content…
Shakespeare uses many play on words to get his point across rather than coming straight out and saying it. For example when Hamlet says “ [for] Hecuba… [what’s] Hecuba to him?”, he uses word choice to get across a more precise meaning (Shakespeare, Act II, Scene ii, Line 513-514). Shakespeare uses the allusion of Hecuba and “her grief [that] most conspicuously indicts Gertrude... for her failure to mourn” King Hamlet’s death (Pollard 1063). Shakespeare could have come straight out and said that Gertrude was not mourning in the traditional way a wife should, but rather he uses diction to show the comparison of the two and how Gertrude's wrong through her reaction. This also demonstrates the theme of the play by showing the different ways to mourn mortal actions of others, therefore, showing the pain that the action has caused Hamlet. Another example of diction in Hamlet’s soliloquy is through his word choice in the description of the reasoning behind Hamlet’s mortal thoughts towards Claudius. Hamlet describes himself as “the son of a dear father murdered… [prompted] to [his] revenge by heaven and hell” (Shakespeare, Act II, Scene ii, Line 540-541). Shakespeare uses words such as “dear father’ to exemplify just how much Hamlet cared for his father while also using the word “murdered” to show just how awful Claudius is. Without Shakespeare's strong word choice, it would not be …show more content…
Shakespeare has many examples of rhetorical questions in the Hamlet soliloquy. Hamlet asks himself questions such as “Am I a coward?” and “Who calls me a villain” in order to ask himself why he cannot get the courage to get revenge on Claudius (Shakespeare, Act II, Scene ii, Line 528-529). He asks if he is a coward, but considering how long it takes him to find the courage to kill his uncle, Shakespeare is implying that he is actually a coward on pausing his mortal thoughts. Hamlet’s cowardice causes him to “[reject] [his] transformation… [leaving] him powerless against the changed dialect of reason and power” and therefore never accomplish what he has been sent to do (Roy 58). Shakespeare also adds the second question in response to Claudius sensing that Hamlet knows his secret in his madness. With Claudius in fear, Hamlet is a villain to him although Hamlet’s action does not follow the mortal thoughts that Claudius fears. The final example of Shakespeare's use of rhetorical devices is personification. Hamlet explains how “murder, though it have no tongue, will speak [with] most miraculous organ” (Shakespeare, Act II, Scene ii, Line 550-551). Hamlet gives murder human qualities to show how even though murder has no words, it’s not afraid to come

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