Before the Storm
When Hamlet sees Fortinbras' army headed for combat in Poland he is moved to deliver a striking monologue about the battle raging in his soul. Passion and anger drive Hamlet to avenge his father's murder at any cost, while logic and reason turn him away from blindly following his feelings. In the scene after he kills Polonious, Hamlet must decide to end his quest for revenge, or follow through with his murderous plans. This soliloquy sees Hamlet turn away from the logic, which has stifled him, and embrace the irrational passion, which will guide his actions for the rest of the play.
Much of the speech sounds like the locker room chant before a big football game: "I have cause, and will, and strength, and means, to do't.(IV.iv.45)" Hamlet appears to be psyching himself up to revenge his father's death. Inspired by the bravery and strength of the soldiers, he rebels against his previous inaction, going so far as to call it bestial. But the notion that his soliloquy is simply a riveting pep talk does not hold up under scrutiny. The speech is full of irony and contradiction that allude to the complex meaning of Hamlet's words.
At the beginning of the monologue Hamlet says that his reason will lead him...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 822 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 6118 literature essays, 1718 sample college application essays, 245 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in