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A Question About Hamlet's First Soliloquy--

Note in his first soliloquy (speech alone--when truest sentiments are spoken) in I, ii, 129- 159, that Hamlet already seems suicidal. Besides depression, what other emotions does Hamlet run through during this brief speech--and how do his reasons prepare him to hear his father's ghost in I, iv?

Student Answers Professor's Commentary
Ruben Brown's thorough answer Not only is this answer thorough, but it goes beyond inventorying by quoting and by connecting the soliloquy with the ghost's mission for Hamlet.
Hamlet is not only suicidal, he is also angry. His anger is directed towards his mother, who married his uncle, his father's brother. He is confused since he remembers how devoted his mother was to his father and how quick she was to take a new husband. Hamlet supports his feelings when he states, "But two months dead, nay, not so much, not two. So excellent a king, that was to this Hyperion to a satyr, so loving to my mother that he might not beteem the winds of heaven visit her face too roughly".

Hamlet is heartbroken over the sudden death of his father, which is understandable, but added to this is the marriage of his mother to his uncle in the scant time which is unacceptable to him. Hamlet is so distraught that he is in a state of total shock and grief, and the appearance of his father's ghost does bring him some comfort. However, Hamlet's anger is manifested at the realization that his father did not die a natural death but was murdered. Even though his father's ghost gives Hamlet some relief he feels that the ghost could be the work of the devil.

This answer from a student in 1999 was not preserved when the forum on Hamlet was reconstituted in 2004 because better answers were already resubmitted to the new forum. 

This student does quote once and paraphrases Hamlet's feelings about the untimeliness of his mother's re-marriage.  But the writing style is rather ordinary and the second paragraph gives more claims than details to support those claims.

So the sample answer at the left is not only shorter than the others linked from the left column but also more vague.

Considering style, mix of claims and evidence, and organization, is Ruben's answer somewhat better than Kari's and Dawn's?

Kari Bullock also sees grief plus anger. This earlier answer sees multiple emotions in the same speech but documents each one; it also concludes more articulately than the sample answer above.
Dawn Cantelmo also inventories several emotions and follows up her answer with a supplement. Though as interesting as Ruben's answer, the style sometimes gets in the way.  Still, adding to her answer is clever and pins down a common thread that she had overlooked while seeing the welter of other emotions.

 


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