second part of I, ii, 133-164 soliloquy (lines 146-164)


by MG


In these lines, Hamlet expresses his disgust for his mother’s recent marriage. In the first three lines of this second part of the soliloquy, beginning, “Heaven and earth,” Hamlet is thinking back to when Gertrude and Hamlet Sr. were married (146). She used to cling to him so much it seemed that she wanted to cling to him more as she did it more. Hamlet finds it hard to think back to these days now that his mother has married.


Hamlet is appalled with the short time that has passed since his father’s death. Even with her previous clinging to Hamlet Sr., Gertrude married again in only a month. Hamlet can’t believe that Gertrude is a woman, “Let me not think on ‘t; frailty, thy name is woman!” (150). He thinks that she married before her shoes were worn out that she wore to mourn over Hamlet’s father’s body: “A little month, or ere those shoes were old / With which she followed my poor father’s body,” (151-152).


Next, Hamlet compares Gertrude to a woman in Greek mythology, Niobe. In her myth, Niobe wept so much from the loss of her children, that she was transformed into a stone from which water flowed perpetually. Hamlet says that Gertrude, too, wept a great amount, however she quickly married. Revolted, Hamlet proclaims that someone without intelligence would have grieved for his father longer, “O God, a beast that wants discourse of reason / Would have mourned longer,” (155-156).


Hamlet then criticizes his mother for marrying his uncle. He says, “married with my uncle, / My father’s brother,” (155-157). Adding “My father’s brother” after “my uncle” is to show his disgust with her choice of husband. Hamlet then states that his uncle is nothing like his father, as he is nothing like Hercules.


Hamlet expresses his revulsion for how quickly his mother married for a second time, “Within a month,” (158). This repetition emphasizes that it was only a month after his father’s death that his mother married. He elaborates this point in his next line in which he claims that his mother married before even the wicked tears of her mourning had stopped flowing.


Hamlet calls the marriage incestuous, meaning that it is against the laws of intercourse between family members. He thinks that it can have no positive outcome: “It is not, nor it cannot come to good,” (163). This speech ends when Hamlet stops himself from continuing when his friends Horatio, Marcellus, and Barnardo enter.