Power Of Words In Hamlet

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Another way words hold power, found in Hamlet’s tragic flaw, is his use of words instead of action throughout the play. Seen most clearly in his soliloquies, Hamlet struggles with indecisiveness to act. Using them to understand reality, they serve as turning points in the story where he finally makes decisions on how to act. In his fourth soliloquy, Hamlet scolds himself on his inaction and commits to taking action against Claudius realizing that “examples gross as earth exhort me” (4.4.45).
While being harmful, words are used to drive the action of the play in Hamlet. Hamlet doesn’t physically act against Ophelia, but instead uses words. He belittles her, telling her that she should “go…to a nunnery,” (3.1.123) instead of becoming a “breeder of sinners” (3.1.123-124). He could have ignored or shunned her, but chooses words to act as daggers.
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He is an introspective character who fights with language in an effort to grasp reality. In his famous fourth soliloquy, Hamlet questions life versus death, “to be or not to be” (3.1.57). As usual, he analyzes their meaning and tries to make sense of them. He goes on to say “Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer / The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune / Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,” (3.1.57-60) trying to rationally question the uncertainty of death. Wondering if death is like a deep sleep, his thoughts stop short and he answers saying “To sleep, perchance to dream- ay, there’s the rub, / For in that sleep of death what dreams may come” (3.1.66-67). Hamlet grapples with the individual words “sleep” and “dreams.” He wonders if the dreams are pains of afterlife rather than suffering, which makes him question death yet again. Hamlet’s interpretation of words holds power over him and make up his sense of reality. Through using his rich knowledge of words, Hamlet gains insight in this specific soliloquy as well as throughout the entire

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