Hamlet's First Soliloquy (Act 1, Scene 2): Original Text and Summary
Hamlet's First Soliloquy
Hamlet's first soliloquy falls in Act 1, Scene 2.
Following is the Hamlet's First Soliloquy Text, later followed by a summary for better understanding.
Original Text from Act 1, Scene 2
O that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! O God!
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! O fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead! — nay, not so much, not two:
So excellent a king; that was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother,
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? Why, she would hang on him
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on: and yet, within a month, —
Let me not think on't, — Frailty, thy name is woman! —
A little month; or ere those shoes were old
With which she followed my poor father's body
Like Niobe, all tears; — why she, even she, —
O God! a beast that wants discourse of reason,
Would have mourn'd longer, — married with mine uncle,
My father's brother; but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules: within a month;
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
She married: — O, most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
It is not, nor it cannot come to good;
But break my heart, — for I must hold my tongue!
The first soliloquy of Hamlet falls in the Act 1, Scene II, after the King Claudius and the Queen Gertrude urges Hamlet in the open court to cast off the deep melancholy which, as they think, has taken possession of his mind as a consequence of his father’s death. In their opinion, Hamlet has sufficiently grieved for his father’s death already. Prior to the soliloquy, the King Claudius and Queen Gertrude makes announcement to their marriage, as according to them, the court could not afford excessive grief, which further saddens Hamlet.
Hamlet refers the world as an ‘unweeded garden’ in which rank and gross things grow in abundance. In the first soliloquy, Hamlet bemoans the fact that he cannot commit suicide. He wishes that his physical self might cease to exist. He says:
“O that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!”
Though saddened by his father’s death, the larger cause of Prince Hamlet’s misery is Queen Gertrude’s disloyal marriage to his uncle, barely in a month of his actual father’s death. He scorns his mother by saying:
“Frailty, thy name is woman!”
Prince Hamlet mourns that even "a beast would have mourned a little longer." Hamlet considers this marriage of his mother, to be an incestuous affair.
This soliloquy shows Hamlet’s deep affection with his beloved father. It also puts light on the character of the dead King that he was a loving husband and a respected father. This soliloquy also enlightens the fact in the haste in which Queen Gertrude decides to marry with the dead King’s brother, without mourning for a respectable period of time.