Special Post: Hamlet’s Soliloquy, Act I, Scene ii

Written some 500 years ago, learned personally in an English Lit class some 40 years ago.

This from none other than William Shakespeare. As profiled in Wikipedia, “An English playwright, poet, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s greatest dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon.”

And so this stream of conscious spoken aloud early in the play, how tortured our man Hamlet is, setting the stage for what’s to come. The dude was decidedly NOT happy.

“O, that this too too solid flesh would melt Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!

Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d

His canon* ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God! God! How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,

Seem to me all the uses of this world!

Fie on’t! ah fie! ’tis an unweeded garden,

That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature Possess it merely. That it should come to this!

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. Heaven and earth!

Must I remember? why, she would hang on him,

As if increase of appetite had grown

By what it fed on: and yet, within a month–

Let me not think on’t–Frailty, thy name is woman!– A little month, or ere* those shoes were old

With which she follow’d my poor father’s body,

Like Niobe (1), all tears:–why she, even she–

O, God! a beast, that wants* discourse of reason, Would have mourn’d longer–married with my uncle, My father’s brother, but no more like my father

Than I to Hercules (2): within a month:

Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears

Had left the flushing in her galled* eyes,

She married. O, most wicked speed, to post

With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!

It is not nor it cannot come to good:

But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue.”

1 A mythological figure who when her children were killed.

2A mythological hero of great strength.

130 *law

135

139 *the sun god

*allow

145 *before

*lacks

151

*inflamed 156

Special Thanks to Cecil Criger for the intro all those years ago.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s