Metaphorical Techniques used in Hamlet

An essay on the metaphorical techniques used in Hamlet

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Metaphorical techniques in Hamlet
This quotation, Hamlet's first important soliloquy, occurs in Act I, scene ii (Lines:
129­158), Hamlet shares with the audience his wretchedness and abhorrence of the King
and Queen. He is trying to come to terms with the recent loss of his father and the haste in
which his mother has remarried.
Hamlet feels isolated with no way to escape, and wishing suicide was not a moral
sin. "Too too solid flesh would melt. Thaw and resolve itself into a dew" (129 130) this
carries the contrast of concreteness, to that of flexibility, which mirrors the conflict between
the restriction of his current situation versus the freedom he desires.
Hamlet continues, "Or that the Everlasting had not fixed. His cannon `gainst
selfslaughter" (131 132) is a hinting at the possible action that the pervious metaphor
points to, suicide. However, the sorrow is maintained when Hamlet points to the uselessness
of that action, which is going to hell. From this we learn that the Royal family are of Christian
Hamlet is aware some foul play has happened, however he is unaware of the full
extent of it. He uses metaphors to compare the `foul play' to an "unweeded garden, that
grows to seed things rank and gross in nature". Hamlet compares the King and Queen to
be gross in nature as it is seen as `incest' at that time and that his mother is not mourning her
late Husband.
Hamlet uses a metaphor and symbolism to compare his late father to his uncle, now
the King of Denmark, "Hyperion to a satyr" (140) this shows that Hamlet had great respect
and awe for his late father by comparing him to Hyperion, whom was a great Titan in Greek
mythology. In comparison Hamlet then compares his uncle to Satyr who was a `sylvan
deity' having certain features of a horse or goat and enjoyed his drink. Hamlet then
generates disgust towards the King not only for who he is but for his behaviours also.
Hamlet describes his mothers marriage to the King as a type of greed for lust, he
questions himself "must I remember?" As if it is something he wants to forget. The repeated
images and lexis of hunger and food are used in order to portray her desire to `feast' "As if
increase of appetite had grown. By what it fed on".
Even though it seems that he doesn't care for his mother he makes the audience
aware that his mother did mourn over her late husband. Hamlet compares her to Niobe the
Queen of Thebes who cries even to this day. "Like Niobe, all tears". Hamlet seems to get
frustrated with him self by talking about and remembering his fathers death "why she, even
Hamlet seems to feel nothing but hatred for his Uncle and mother, we see this in
Hamlets first soliloquy, however from previous speech we can tell that even though he
greatly dislikes his mother, it is still his mother and feels like he must pay her some respect as
the length of the dialogue between Hamlet and the Queen is far greater than the King and
Emma Kirby 29/09/2009


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