The true Hamlet

I particularly enjoyed Hamlet’s soliloquy in act 2 scene 2, where he demonstrates his true desires and feelings. It is a sort of change from the melancholic and idle character we have previously seen, who in his grief sits by and complains about how the world has wronged him. In this speech, we can see that he is in fact truly sensible and loyal. Hamlet is baffled by the fact that an actor can conjure up such a raw and intense performance when it is only a fictional character, while Hamlet himself is living with this very real pain but cannot drive himself to take action and avenge his father’s death. He then goes on to explain how if the actors really, truly felt the exact way hamlet does and had his “motive” and “cue for passion” (538), then their performances would be that much more vigorous and real. The actor would “drown the stage with tears / And cleave the general ear with horrid speech, / Make mad the guilty and appall the free, Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed / The very faculties of eyes and ears” (539-43). I love how he is saying that yes, these actors are brilliant in their performance but not even half as intense as someone who contains those true emotions and ambition. He then goes on to describe the torment and guilt he experiences over having not followed through with his avenge of Claudius. He asks if he is a “coward” (548) for not taking action and if someone were to “Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face” (550) then he “should take it, for it cannot be / But I am pigeon-livered and lack gall / To make oppression bitter, or ere this / I should have fatted all the region kites / With this slave’s offal (557). He feels that he deserves that kind of torment because he is so cowardly and week. Through this speech, I feel as though we get a glimpse into Hamlets true character as opposed to the Hamlet that we see when he interacts with the other characters in the play.


2 thoughts on “The true Hamlet

  1. mcgovere1

    I liked your post. I found it really interesting that you pointed out this is the true Hamlet. Hamlet is always complaining, not exactly saying what he means, and even putting on a show of madness for other people. I see what you mean about the sincerity of this speech. We have a man that is truly disappointed in himself. The most interesting line in this speech is when Hamlet says “Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face”. He is literally saying here take away my manhood and rub it in my face for I don’t deserve it. I hope that we get another glimpse into Hamlet’s true being for the play ends.

  2. awalker845

    I also like the idea of “The True Hamlet” because I don’t believe he’s mad at all. I think he just thinks out loud which may appear as someone not “in their right mind.” In Act 2.2 Polonius like everyone else believed Hamlet was mad, but after speaking with him seemed to change his mind “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.” (2.2 203) Hamlet does admire the actor’s talent. At one point I thought he would act in their place but then it would be obvious who the play was about.


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