Figurative Language In Hamlet's Soliloquy

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In Act 2, Scene 2, a theatrical troupe arrives at the castle to perform a speech from Aeneid. Impressed with the player’s performance, Hamlet asks that the player act out a short speech he has written for the next day. Once alone, Hamlet undergoes an introspection that sheds light to his cowardly disposition. The soliloquy is divided into three sections: problem, cause, and resolution. Through his initial self-condemnation for being passive, Hamlet realizes the essence of his internal struggle and devises a plan to take action without having to go against his true nature.
At the start of the soliloquy, the character foil between player 1 and Hamlet emphasizes Hamlet’s self-loathe by revealing his inability to avenge his father’s death. The …show more content…

The metaphor that compares Hamlet to the pigeon reveals Hamlet’s true nature. Pigeons do not have gallbladders: the body’s center for courage. By comparing himself to a “pigeon-livered and lack gall” (Ham.2.2.604), Hamlet acknowledges his submissiveness and resentment towards cold, heartless acts; it is against his nature to commit murder. This realization serves as an explanation as to why Hamlet has not fulfilled his pledge to the ghost. The bird imagery continues as Hamlet states he would feed Claudius to “kites” (Ham.2.2.606); he is conflicted about what he should do. Claudius is then compared to the internal organs of slaves and a man without morals, remorse or kindness (Ham.2.2.607-608). The powerful metaphors and adjectives used to describe Claudius not only express Hamlet’s intense contempt and disdain towards him, but also serve to convince Hamlet to commit murder. However, Hamlet depicts himself as a whore, a prostitute, and a swearing kitchen maid (Ham.2.2.614-616), reiterating the notion that he is worthless, as well as weak for expressing his emotions through words rather than actions. The shift from metaphors to similes indicate Hamlet’s failure to move past his cowardice and proceed with an act of revenge that would inflict

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