Hamlet's Frustration with Himself: "A Rogue And Peasant Slave"

In order to understand Hamlet, we must understand his frustration. This frustration is most clear in his famous monologue, famously beginning with the line "Oh what a rogue and peasant slave am I."

This self-condemnation is contrasted by his admiration for the actor of the previous scene, who "in a fiction" is able to "force his soul to his own conceit." The word "soul" is an example of metonymy, as the soul represents the actor's "visage," "tears," "distraction," and "voice." Thus Hamlet equates "soul" with one's actions, so by his own comparison his soul is weak, as he does not take action against the king. The second sentence is furthermore a rhetorical question, beginning with, "Is it not" So clearly Hamlet's lack of emotion is "monstrous" in his own mind at the very start of the monologue. The equation of "Hecuba" to "nothing" is then contrasted by Hamlet's "cue" being the murder of his father. Hamlet then states that the actor would "drown the stage with tears" if he were in Hamlet's position. The visual hyperbole which is compounded by the repetition of...

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