Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hamlet Act 1 Scene 5 Soliloquy

lines 92-111

5 comments:

Jessica F. 6 said...

In Act 1 Scene 5 Hamlet reflects by speaking to himself and to the audience about his father and about his uncle, king Claudius and contemplates about whether or not his life is any better than his dead father’s. In the soliloquy Shakespeare demonstrates Hamlet’s character as a confused and distraught character by the repetitions in his language and grammar. Hamlet’s character after viewing the video is showing the audience a possible interpretation of the passage, in the passage Hamlet is so annoyed that his emotions at some points in the passage cause Hamlet’s vulnerable and weak side to show through.

At the beginning of the passage Hamlet says “ O all you host of Heaven! O earth! What else? And shall I couple hell?” (Lines 92-93) Hamlet in the video is in a kneeling position close to the ground lying up against a tree stump. The video made him look like he was praying and the language made Hamlet sound like he was questioning not only himself but also his father. Hamlet says “And shall I couple hell?” meaning whether or not his life at the time could be compared to hell. Hamlet believes that his life is as bad as hell and that he does not know what to do. Then Hamlet goes on and says “And you, my sinows grow not instant old, But bear me [stiffly] up. Remember me!” (95-96) Hamlet in some sense takes the negative aspects of his life his “sinows” which means his sinews which sounds like sin- ews. In some sense the word can be taken as Hamlet’s disgusting sins and Hamlet then reassures himself that he can use them to lift himself up and make him stronger. In the video that is when Hamlet gets up from the ground and no longer speaks to someone else but to himself and is seems more powerful and confident.

Hamlet then speaks about the ghost of his father that he saw in the act and tells him to “Remember thee!” (Line 97) Hamlet repeats this several times in the passage because Shakespeare wanted to emphasize the attention and the power that Hamlet wants from everyone in Denmark. In the video where he says “Remember thee!” Hamlet says it loud and proud almost like if he wants someone higher than him to hear it.

Hamlet says that he is going to get rid of all the foolish things people tell him, like “saws” which are wise sayings and instead he is going to “Unmix’d with baser matter. Yes by heaven!” (Line 104). Hamlet views the wise sayings and heavens words as in the bible as something that is poisoning or corrupting his mind of the truth. Then he goes on with “O pernicious woman! O villain, smiling damned villain” (lines 105-106) which in this case he speaks about his mother, Queen Gertrude because he thinks that his mother has subtly effected him or influenced his thinking in a harmful way. Hamlet also calls her a villain and says that she has only been putting on a smile because she has realized that she may have been “damned” to hell and has no other way of turning back but she has no other choice, so she pretends that she is happy. In the video he says those few words in such a despicable matter that causes me to wonder if Hamlet really does have that much hatred for his mother.

Hamlet ends with him writing to his uncle, King Claudius and says, “So uncle, there you are. Now to my word: It’s Adieu, adieu! Remember me. I have sworn’t” (lines 110-112). In this passage I noticed that Shakespeare chose to put quotation marks around the “Adieu, adieu! Remember me!” it may have been because he wanted that part to be emphasized or because Hamlet was supposed to say it in a louder and slower pace than the rest of the passage, or there may be no real explanation for the quotation marks. In the passage he is writing to his uncle and telling him that he wants him to remember who Hamlet is and that he also has some power over him and that he is watching him. In the video Hamlet does not physically write to his uncle, rather he just says it and he lifts up his sword to his face in a threatening way. In the book it says that he actually writes to his uncle and it does not sound or look as threatening as it was acted out in the video.

Overall in Act 1 Scene 5 Hamlet’s soliloquy Shakespeare helps develop Hamlet’s character by his choice of words, language and grammar. Hamlet shows the audience many sides to his character, he begins very vulnerable and ends almost in a vengeful and threatening manner. As for the video it interpreted the passage well and added onto the characterization of Hamlet by demonstrating the physical character and giving the passage the life it needed in order to understand how passionate Hamlet was about what he had to say to his uncle and about his life in general.

thespina g 6 said...

In Act 1 Scene 5 Hamlet reflects on the meeting with the ghost by speaking to himself about his father, King Hamlet and his uncle, King Claudius. He contemplates about a lot of things including whether or not what is happening is real or a dream and if his life is worth living or if it is any better than the dead king's life. During Hamlet's soliloquy Shakespeare crafts Hamlet into a cunfused and upset character through repetition and word choice. The videoclip shows the audience another interpretation of Hamlet during this passage. It shows how vulnerabe Hamlet can become.

At the very beginning of the passage, Hamlet cries out to the sky, "O all you host of Heaven! O earth! What else?" (line 92). In the video, Hamlet seems to be in a preying position, but he is closer to the ground than to he is when he is upright which gives the illusion that he feels extremely hopeless and upset. He acts shouts and screams his lines which give off that he has no idea what to do. His next line shows how hopeless he feels when he compares his life to hell. "And shall I couple hell?"(line 93). The fact that he feels his life is so bad and compares it to hell, makes Hamlet seem extremely vulnerable.

He rants about how everything wise and biblical he has learned so far have only corrupted him and hid the truth from him. He thencomes to a point where the audience is given a bit of how Hamlet feels abut women- when he speaks of his mother. One of the first things he does after he stands abruptly upright is curse his mother. "O pernicious woman! O villain, smiling damned villain" (lines 105-06). This gives the audience the idea that Hamlet resents his mothers marriage to his uncle so shortly after his father's death. He believes that she is aware of her awful action and therefore is a "smiling damned villain", who pretends to be innocent but knows what she has done has caused damage around her.

Hamlet ends his soliloquy by writing a letter to King Claudius. "So uncle, there you are. Now to my word: It's Adieu, adieu! Remember me. I have sworn't" (lines 110-12). In this excerpt, Shakespeare uses quotations which could emphasize what Hamlet is saying and foreshadow an action of Hamlet's that he does not want to be forgotten for. "Adieu, adieu! Remember me". It;s sunds like a threat in the video, and even though he isn't actually writing, the way in which he says the lines shows how grave the matter is to him and how passionate he feels about what has happened.

In conclusion, Hamlet's soliloquy in Act 1 Scene 5 develops his character in many ways. Shakespeare uses repetition and word choice to construct the Hamlet that the audience has a better grasp on after reading the scene. He begins extremely vulnerable, and very upset and close to the ground. He ends shouting threats and standing strongly like a building. The video interpreted the passage well and gave me a better understanding of how the soliloquy should be and also how Hamlet really felt during the scene. It interpreted it well by bringing life to Hamlet's lines and physically demonstarting his character and how he feels.

Andrew D 5 said...

At the end of act 1 scene 5 of William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet, the ghost of Hamlet’s father appears to Hamlet and tells him that he was betrayed by his brother who poured poison into King Hamlet’s ear while he was sleeping out in the orchard as usual. Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, who was loved so deeply by Hamlet’s father, has now stooped down to the uncle with less than adequate natural gifts. Then the ghost vanishes leaving Hamlet alone on stage with new insight on his beloved family.
Hamlet’s soliloquy starts O all you host of heaven! O earth! What else? (1:5 line 92) The mans world has come to an end. All goodness in life, all respect, honor, dignity has gone out the window. Hamlet’s marbles have been knocked from their nesting place in his head and are about to be gone. His heart is feeling the facts right now “And shall I couple hell? Oh, fie! Hold, hold, my heart, (1:5 line 93). He’s like wait, hold on, don’t drop dead yet, Hamlet is soaking it up like a sponge and his heart is starting to feel it and his tone is not out of control, yet. Physically, his body is feeling it and he literally tells himself not to grow old and instructs his muscles not to give out “And you, my sinews, grow not instant old, but bear me stiffly up. Remember thee!”(1:5 lines 94-95). Hamlet is relating to his father’s pain and thinking about how he would cope with such a devastating betrayal and it hurts. And still the memory will last forever in his mind “Ay, thou poor ghost, whiles memory holds a seat” (1:5 line 96), like yea dad, I will never forget this happened. The reference to the seat could be a reference to the throne where Hamlet will always have the memory of his father on the throne instead of the gift less swine Denmark now calls king.
Then there is a tone shift “Yea, from the table of my memory I'll wipe away all trivial fond records, All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past That youth and observation copied there, And thy commandment all alone shall live Within the book and volume of my brain, Unmixed with baser matter. Yes, by heaven! (1:5 lines 98-104). Hamlet is freaking out to himself saying he will wipe away anything in his distracted head and he will only remember thee. Hamlet is going mad, but at the same time he is loosing it, he is putting all the pieces together and understanding the situation. Hamlet is in control of Hamlet, he is just loosing his mind because a ghost of his father just came to him and gave him this breath taking news and now that it is processed in his brain, that’s all that will go on in there.
Then Hamlet realizes that his mother really stuck it to his father. She was coaxed into the uncle’s love somehow by his less than adequate natural gifts. She went from the most generously loving man to scum of the earth. And Hamlet knows who the vilans are “O most pernicious woman! O villain, villain, smiling, dammed villain! (1:5 lines 105-106) like damn you mom how could you do that, you are an evil woman. Hamlet’s tone switches down a notch and goes from a sad realization, to an outburst of promise, now to blame. Now he wants to write it down, he searches for a notebook to remind himself that villans can smile, and still be villans “My tables!—Meet it is I set it down At least I'm sure it may be so in Denmark. (writes) So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word” (1:5 lines108-110). Now he is really vexed at his uncle because he knows what he did and made a vow to his father to remember it, and do what he thinks is right by the king. After all the king did say” Remember me” (1:5 line 111) and that is just what Hamlet intends to do.

Emily L 6 said...

Starting with the video, I felt that Hamlet was feeling sad and sorrow in the beginning over the reason of his father’s death through the look of his eyes and the shakiness of his speech. In this scene, Hamlet just found out that his uncle was the one who poisoned his father. I thought in the video, he looked like he was in disbelief which fits because he heard the reason from his father’s ghost and it is suppose to be the truth. However, it’s difficult to determine if the ghost is telling the truth because we don’t even know if the ghost is real or not. He appears distraught as he drops straight down to the floor saying “O earth! What else? (92), which to me means What else can there be?, What’s next? or Can it get any worse? He then said “Hold, hold, my heart” with his eyes closed and looking teary. Hamlet sounds weak and vulnerable at this moment as he needs someone to physically hold his heart and to help him. He is also alone as he recites his soliloquy which makes him even more vulnerable and alone.

I thought Hamlet didn’t know what to believe in the beginning because he kept questioning himself like “what else? And shall I couple hell?” (93) and reciting lines that the ghost said like “Remember thee!” (95) or “Adieu, Adieu, Remember me”(111). Line 95 sounds to me like Remember [Three] which would be interesting if it were purposely done because we talked about the number three being a symbol of the bible during class. It may have something to do with the bible or religion in general since the ghost of King Hamlet has asked Hamlet to avenge for him or else his father would suffer in purgatory until his sins are burned away. The number three would be like a reminder for Hamlet. It could possibly be as a reminder for time like 3 o’clock or maybe a reminder that his father will suffer in hell if he does not take revenge for him soon.

After awhile of pondering whether to believe or not, Hamlet chooses to believe the ghost since he calls his mother a “most pernicious woman” (105). He says this with anger in the video and his tone is totally different now. He’s loud and sounds angry. This is not the first time that Hamlet thinks less of woman. His mother to him is nothing, but an evil malicious woman. He seeks no comfort from her as most men want from woman such as Stephen in a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. He then continues saying “O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!” The villain in this line may be talking about Queen Gertude since the line before was addressing her as a pernicious woman, but it may also be referring to Claudius because with Hamlet’s mother brings the thought of his step father Claudius. Both could exist as a villain to Hamlet since they both are typically at odds with him. Hamlet feels betrayed with his mother because she married Claudius. Claudius is also a villain to Hamlet because he killed his father and stole his mother from him.

The next part says “one may smile, and smile, and be a villain. At least I’m sure it may be so in Denmark” (104-5) Basically Hamlet is saying that even the friendliest and nicest person can be evil inside. A smile is only a disguise and it means nothing because it can be fake. Reading this, I also thought Denmark was being personified as a villain, which is interesting because in the past Denmark was described as a prison. Denmark is like a villain to him because it is restricting him from doing other things without being watched. His life revolves around Denmark since his father is the King and he feels so helpless as if he were locked into it like a prison cell. Denmark also represents King Claudius or King Hamlet because they both control or controlled Denmark. Denmark controls Hamlet therefore they both have control over Hamlet as well. Hamlet is forced to follow Claudius because he is the king and his father now and also King Hamlet is his father who he respects so he has to listen to him even if he wants Hamlet to kill Claudius. However, because Hamlet is listening to them, it is poisoning his mind. Hamlet’s insanity begins here as he believes ghosts are real and swears that he will avenge for his father. The video ends with Hamlet giving his sword a light kiss and I found this quite creepy. It seemed insane that Hamlet would believe a ghost and attempt to kill his step father.

Amy H 6 said...

In Act 1 Scene 5, Hamlet reflects what’s life is like without his father. In the soliloquy, Shakespeare describes Hamlet as a weak and insane person. Shakespeare is able to this through use of tone, word choice, and repetition.


In the first part of Hamlet’s soliloquy, I believe Hamlet’s fall to the ground because he just cannot physically stand up anymore. He looks up at the sky for a quick moment then falls shortly afterwards. Thinking about his father knocks his off of his feet and the thought also affects his breathing. Hamlet sounds like he is short of breath. Also, in the clip, Hamlet looks up towards the sky as if the sky is King Hamlet and whispers “remember thee”. It’s like Hamlet is telling his father not to forget him and he will meet up with him in heaven.


“O all you host of heaven! O earth! And shall I couple hell?” (92-93). I believe the reference of heaven, earth, and hell is significant. Hamlet references to earth because he is living on earth at the very moment, but he feels like living on the earth is “hell”. Halmet wants to be in heaven with his father. When the actor Hamlet speaks from line 92-95, his eyes are closed. It’s like he can’t come to grasp reality. He can’t live without his father. He needs him in his life. “O fie, hold, hold, my heart”, the word fie, as I looked up meant disgust. I think Shakespeare uses fie to describe his uncle. Hamlet’s uncle is fie and is holding his heart. The uncle is holding Hamlet’s heart as to break it or destroy it in a physical manor. But Hamlet’s uncle did already break his heart, mentally, when he killed King Hamlet.


In the middle of the soliloquy, Hamlet finally rises from the ground. As Hamlet rises, there is dark music in the background and his breathing grows harsher. His voice also becomes harsh and painful. His eyes are closed, just like the beginning of the soliloquy. His eyes also appear to grow larger. He is screaming, and his screaming is geared towards his mother, Queen Gertrude. He calls his mother a “pernicious woman”, as if she does not deserve a name. This is another sign of how Shakespeare describes Hamlet insanity. Most young boys will not call their mother a “pernicious woman.” Also, Hamlet makes a reference to Denmark. “And smile, and be a villain”, Shakespeare writes as if Hamlet ever had the chance to send his mother to Denmark, he would. And Denmark at this time is a prison, so Hamlet wanting to condemn his mother to Denmark shows his madness.


At the end of the soliloquy, Hamlet’s voice is harsher than ever before and his eyes grow wider. He ends his soliloquy with “So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word.” It is “Aideu, aideu! Remember me.” I believe these lines are foreshadowing how Hamlet is going to kill his uncle. . “Now to my word”, this is Hamlet’s promise for his father to carry on the deed of what he told him to do. And the deed is to kill the current king. Also in the video, Hamlet recites these lines he is slowly raising his sword, as if he is practicing how to kill him.

Through use of word choice, tone, and repetition, Shakespeare is able to captivate his reader’s mind to believe the insanity and weakness of Hamlet. Repetition usually is a sign of insanity and this is the main reason why I believe that Shakespeare choose to repeat many words in the soliloquy.