Friday, October 12, 2012

Window to the Mind in A Soliloquy from Hamlet


Window to the Mind--   A Soliloquy from Hamlet----Act III-Scene I --Lines56-90.
Hamlet is the most complex of the characters, created by Shakespeare. His father was the king of Denmark, who was murdered by his own brother, Claudius.  It must have been a shock to young Hamlet, and to add insult to injury, his mother marries Claudius.
  Hamlet’s  father’s ghost appears and informs Hamlet that  his brother, Claudius,  poured poison into  his ears while he was  sleeping in the garden, and killed him. The ghost asks Hamlet to take revenge on Claudius. Hamlet is torn between conflicting thoughts. The prescribed part focuses on Hamlet’s troubled mind.
       “To be or not to be” is the famous quotation from Shakespeare. Hamlet is not sure what is better: to bear all kinds of evil and shocking things that nature throws at us and suffer patiently, or oppose them and end them by taking arms. The third option is to end our lives by committing suicide. “Death” is compared to sleep, and if by this sleep of death, we can put an end to all the heartaches and natural shocks of this life, it is to be sincerely wished,  but nobody is sure of the evils one has to face in the dreams that may occur in the sleep of death. They may be worse than the sorrows, one faces in this life. This fear makes people bear the evils in life—the oppressor’s cruel treatment,  the proud man’s insult, the pain of despised love, the rudeness of people in office, and the contempt of the unworthy people-- very patiently.  They prefer these evils to the unknown, perhaps, more horrible things in the life after death. So, they don’t dare to take away their lives with a dagger, which appears to be easier than bearing all the hardships of this life..
            Hamlet feels that this dread of facing terrible things after death makes us all cowards. We are not able to carry out great activities or new projects because this fear of the unknown after death hampers all our movements. So far, no traveler has returned from “the undiscover’d country,” of death. Hence the fear of death grips us, and makes us cling on to life in spite of various difficulties and sorrows. Hamlet ends his soliloquy,   when he sees Ophelia reading a prayer book. He asks her to remember to ask pardon for all his sins in her prayer.