Shakespeare's Hamlet

Shakespeare’s Hamlet

“O, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown!”



Discuss:  Soliloquy:  What is the point?

  • Discuss: Discovering Hamlet
  • The Big Question: To Be, or Not …
    William Shakespeare may be the author best known for his use of soliloquy. The literary device, in which characters directly address the audience and share their innermost thoughts, appears in Hamlet, Macbeth, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, and many other Shakespearean plays. Though soliloquies are often considered dense, intimidating, old-fashioned and confusing, they still are used as popular dramatic plot devices in books, movies, and even television shows.


  1. What is a soliloquy?
  2. Describe what the famous soliloquy “To be or not to be” is about, using information presented in the discussion/ video segments we reviewed.
  3. As a literary device, what does soliloquy accomplish? Use information from the video segments to support your assertions.
  4. How did an Elizabethan audience react to the topic of suicide, as discussed in Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy? How was their reaction different from how an audience today might react to the soliloquy? Provide specific examples of differences.
  5. For actors, how is soliloquy more interpretive and personal than other literary devices? Use specific examples given in the video segments to support your answer.