Hamlet opens with the information that Hamlet’s father, the actual king of Denmark is dead and his uncle Claudius is now holding the throne. At the same time, audience also receives a clear indication to the fact that Hamlet’s father has died under mysterious circumstances and most probably he has been murdered. Hamlet, though he is philosophical in nature, but in the opening soliloquy he acts like a person of general conviction of the world and he is unable to support his mother’s (Gertrude) decision of marrying Claudius very aftermath his father’s death. At the initial part of the soliloquy Hamlet pities the plight of his father as he feels that seeing his condition “that this too too solid flesh would melt/Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!” (Hamlet, lines, 131-32) Being the king of Denmark, after his death, the kind of treatment that his father has received would soften even the cruelest of hearts. This sense of pity magnifies as he in the next lines he suggests that “self-slaughter,” though it is considered as a sinful act in the eyes of God (“Everlasing”), would receive more pity than his father has received. Soon aftermath, Hamlet’s pity for his father and the event of his futile death explores the harsh fact of an individual’s futile existence in this world, “How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,/Seem to me all the uses of this world” (Hamlet, lines, 134-35).
He observes life as “an unweeded garden”, though it grows but “rank and gross” aspects of the world finally stand as hindrances in the process of its complete flourishing. Clearly, in this context, he actually points out the ambitious nature of his uncle and apparently deceptive nature of his mother, as he has perceived her at this point of drama. A person, who used to be such a great king, just after two months of his death, decline of his human status from “Hyperion to a satyr” (Hamlet, line, 142) has completely altered Hamlet’s conception of life as well as his perception about unpredictability of the human nature. Gradually, the nature of Hamlet’s mourning for his father changes from grief to voluptuous outburst of anger fused with bitter hatred against his mother, in extension over the idea of womanhood. He recalls how his father used to love Queen Gertrude and may be its due to his affection for her, as he speculates that “he might not beteem the winds of heaven/Visit her face too roughly” (Hamlet, lines, 143-44) Hamlet imagines Queen Gertrude as a parasite, who was clinging on to his father till the time his royal appetite could have satisfied her but once he is dead she has to attach herself to another host and that appears in the form of his uncle. He interprets the every woman in the same context and finally concludes, “Frailty, thy name is woman!” (Hamlet, line, 148) In the fits of his anger fused with hatred he considers his mother as a further derogated creature than a beast and observes her mourn as a way of drawing sympathy of others.
In this context it can be mentioned that though Hamlet rejects is philosophical self and fails to recognize the plight of womanhood under patriarchal set up but though his speech he has explored certain aspects of life as well as the essence of futility that an individual has to undergo at specific periods of his existence. This speech also provides clear connotation to the dilemma of a post modern human being about the actual goal of his life. Certain incidents occur in every individual’s life that change his perception of the whole world and people who are nearest to him. In this context, Hamlet’s angst reflects eternal existentialist crisis that torments every individual at some point of time or the other. Yet, amidst such situation, a person does not lose his patience and prudence as he seeks to look deep into the nature of people around him. He seeks further confirmation that would ensure the actuality behind his observation as well as interpretation. Such prudence is reflected at the close of the soliloquy as he says, “But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue.” (Hamlet, line, 161)
Shakespeare, William, Hamlet, (Soliloquy) Act I, Scene ii, available on: http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/hamlet_1_2.html, retrieved on: 20th Jun, 2009