ANSWERS: 1
  • Hamlet’s melancholia and the reasons for his dispair are demonstrated in an outpouring of anger, disgust, sorrow, and grief. He explains how everything in his life seems futile and miserable. He mourns the death of his father, is sickened by his mother’s marriage to his uncle, and also feels extremely miserable about the entire situation with regards to the value of his own life. He is so melancholic that he wishes he could die: “O, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt, Thaw, and resolve itself into dew” (I.ii.133-134). He would commit suicide if it were not a sin that would send him straight to hell: “that the Everlasting had not fixed his canon ‘gainst (self slaughter!)” (I.ii.136). Hamlet's sorrow at his father's death is matched by his outrage at the inappropriately quick marriage of his mother Gertrude to his uncle Claudius. Hamlet does not believe that his mother grieved the King's death at all, saying that she shed “unrighteous tears” (I.ii.159). He is disgusted by thoughts of his mother’s affection towards his father, believing that her love was a pretence and that she acted out of lust and greed when marrying Claudius : “O God, a beast that wants discourse of reason Would have mourned longer!” (I.ii.154-155). In addition, he sees her marriage to the dead King's brother as sinful: “She married. O, most wicked speed, to post With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!” (I.ii161-162). To Hamlet, Claudius is a poor King in comparison to his dead father, comparing his father to Hyperion, the virtuous God of Light, and Claudius to a satyr, a debauched half-man half-beast known for lewd behaviour: “So excellent a king, that was to this Hyperion to a satyr” (I.ii.143-144). In summary, from his initial death wish to his expressions of anger, sorrow and disgust, this first soliloquy offers an insight into Hamlet's innermost thoughts and demonstrates his sense of despair and melancholy.

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