Hamlets Soliloquy In Act 4 Scene 4 English Literature Essay

Hamlet then presses himself to take action. We can see this from where he says “Of thinking too precisely on th’ event”. When Hamlet says “I do not know why yet I live to say ‘the thing’s to do’” we know that Hamlet has finally come to terms with the fact that he has managed to achieve very little, and is now looking at what he can do to break his procrastination. He believes that up to now he has put too much effort into contemplating what he should do instead of actually doing it. After this, Hamlet then says “Sith I have cause and will and strength and means to do’t” From this, we know that Hamlet is still slightly unsure of himself, as he feels the need to reassure himself, and reaffirm the fact that he has sufficient “will” and “means” to take action against Claudius.

Hamlets thoughts then turn to Fortinbras, and to what Fortinbras has managed to achieve in comparison to what he has achieved. Hamlet has done nothing since the murder of his father, but Fortinbras has managed to become the head of a mighty army. This serves only to remind Hamlet that he must do something, and it has to be drastic in order to make up for the action he has failed to take so far. We can see that Fortinbras has achieved a lot from “Witness this army, of such mass and charge, led by a delicate and tender prince”. Hamlets also speaks this line during his soliloquy “to all that fortune death and danger dare, even for an eggshell.” This shows us that Hamlet and Fortinbras are different. Hamlet has resorted to procrastination up to this point but now feels as if he needs to try and follow Fortinbras’ example, as Fortinbras resorts immediately to action, even if he may lose many men while only achieving “an eggshell”.

Hamlet then proceeds to contrast himself with the soldiers he is spectating. They go to war and lay their lives on the line for meaningless orders that represent something so insignificant, while Hamlet is incapable to act for a hugely important reason in comparison; that his father has been killed. We can see that they make such a big sacrifice from “The imminent death of twenty thousand men”, and “Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause” shows us that the reason that they are fighting is so unimportant. These soldiers speed up Hamlets transition from procrastination to action as they cause him to feel guilty for his lack of action.

Hamlet closes his soliloquy by talking about the revenge he will extract on Claudius. Hamlets last line shows the audience how he intends to punish Claudius. Hamlet says “My thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth!” the word “bloody” implies that Hamlet intends to take violent action, and that he has finally decided what he will do, in contrast with earlier moments in the play where he has done nothing, for example “Haste me to know’t” shows us that he is looking for more reason to resort to action, when he has a sufficient motive for revenge already. This quotation also implies that he is frustrated with himself for avoiding action until now; he believes that his thoughts and even his very existence are “nothing worth!” unless he is planning revenge on Claudius from this instant onwards.

Hamlet has changed his notions immensely from the start of the play. He has now decided on a firm course of action rather than questioning his motives. Hamlet wants to kill Claudius and no longer has any misgivings that the task that needs to be carried out exceeds his abilities, and it seems to me that he no longer cares what the penalty of what he is about to do may be, as long as Claudius suffers for what he has put Hamlet through. I think this is the seminal moment in the play because this is the moment when Hamlet finally chooses vengeance, something that he has been considering doing throughout the play. Hamlet makes a choice, and with this choice he loses some of his sanity.

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