A Rhetoric Analysis Of Claudius's Soliloquy '

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In act 3, scene 3, Shakespeare reveals Claudius’s intentions and reflection on his deeds through his soliloquy. Claudius confesses that he has killed his brother, King Hamlet. His strong guilt causes him feelings of confusion. He prays to ask for forgiveness, but he is unwilling to give up the crown and the queen due to his ambitions. Through the use of imagery, allusion and rhetorical questions, Shakespeare illustrates Claudius's ambition overpowering his guilt. Claudius feels guilty for committing the murder of his brother. He begins by saying that his sin is so foul that “it smells to heaven” (36). This foul imagery reflects his remorseful actions; killing his brother for the crown and the queen. He makes an allusion to "curse of Cain, who…show more content…
His ambition overpowers everything as he wonders if he can pray for forgiveness to lose the guilty feeling. He asks another rhetorical question, wondering if there is a prayer he can say to be forgiven. He soon realizes “that cannot be” (53) because he still possess things gained that he committed the crime for. He values his crown the most, then his ambition and then his queen, in that respective order: "My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.” (55). There is also a use of antithesis “the wicked prize itself” (59) which reflects his situation where he wickedly gained prizes: the crown and the queen. He is aware that in heaven, only truth is tolerated: “There [heaven] the action lies in his true nature” (62). Claudius fears judgement and therefore, is using prayer to be forgiven from his sins; however he is aware for what is expected. He continues to ask questions to get rid of his confusion and guilt. He asks “what then? what rests?”(64) and answers that repentance may be able to help him. However, he realizes that he has already committed a sin and it is difficult to repent because his ambition is more important to him. Through the repletion of “O”, Claudius further emphasizes his regret. Furthermore, the simile and imagery, “bosom black as death” (67) to express the grief he feels. He asks for help of angels and hopes that “all may be well” (72). Through the soliloquy, Shakespeare

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