Laudius Soliloquy in Hamlet Act 3 Scene 3
O, my offence is rank it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse upont,
A brothers murder. Pray can I not,
Though inclination be as sharp as will:
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent; 5
And, like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
And both neglect. What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brothers blood,
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens 10
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy
But to confront the visage of offence?
And whats in prayer but this two-fold force,
To be forestalled ere we come to fall,
Or pardond being down? Then Ill look up; 15
My fault is past. But, O, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? Forgive me my foul murder?
That cannot be; since I am still possessd
Of those effects for which I did the murder,
My crown, mine own ambition and my queen. 20
May one be pardond and retain the offence?
In the corrupted currents of this world
Offences gilded hand may shove by justice,
And oft tis seen the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law: but tis not so above; 25
There is no shuffling, there the action lies
In his true nature; and we ourselves compelld,
Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then? what rests?
Try what repentance can: what can it not? 30
Yet what can it when one can not repent?
O wretched state! O bosom black as death!
O limed soul, that, struggling to be free.
This extract needs to analyzed for its literary devices. First of all a little bit of background knowledge should be introduced, such as, what happened in this scene, what happened right before the soliloquy, what makes this soliloquy significant in the play and a bit about Claudius character etc. The main theme or, if there are several significant themes, should be identified before analyzing the literary devices and from that point on literary devices such as imagery (different image patterns, sensory imagery), figurative language (metaphor, consonance, alliteration, assonance, hyperbole) , structure ( the structure itself, syntax, repetition), tone and diction should be analyzed and connected to those main themes. The analysis should not be written in essay format, however it should be clearly organized and put in bullet point format. The analysis is not to follow a line-by-line analysis, it should follow the order of most significant literary device of the extract – least significant literary device in the extract. The device that has more significance in the extract should have more examples included in the analysis and should be covered in more depth. Toward the end of the analysis for the less significant devices, the amount of examples may decrease, however they do not have to. The biblical reference of Cain and Abel should also be introduced in the analysis wherever may seem appropriate.
If there are any other literary devices that should be analyzed in order to have a more sophisticated analysis, but I have not listed it, please feel free to add it yourself and in case on e of the devices that I have listed does absolutely not have sufficient examples as to analyze it and is not worth mentioning, you may disregard that literary device.