Hamlet's Fifth Soliloquy - Original Text and Summary
Hamlet's Fifth Soliloquy falls in the Act 3, Scene 2 prior to going in his mother's chambers for a conversation. Prince Hamlet's mother, Queen Gertrude, sends words to summon Hamlet into her chamber to have a talk with him.
Hamlet asks for a short amount of time alone, and in this short period, he delivers this soliloquy, in which he plans out the conversation.
'Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world: now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on. Soft! now to my mother. —
O heart, lose not thy nature; let not ever
The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom:
Let me be cruel, not unnatural;
I will speak daggers to her, but use none;
My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites, —
How in my words somever she be shent,
To give them seals never, my soul, consent!
Hamlet’s fifth soliloquy falls in Act 3, Scene 2, when he is about to go to his mother’s chamber in response to her summons. When Polonius was escorting Prince Hamlet to Queen Gertrude’s chamber, Hamlet asks for a moment alone and says that he will meet her mother in a short moment, and then in the moment alone, he delivers his short soliloquy in which he resolves to be brutally honest with her but not to lose control of himself.
At this moment, Hamlet is so to be say, in a mood in which he could “drink hot blood, and do such bitter business as the day would quake to look on.” In this mood he could even kill his mother, but he would not do so: “Let me be cruel, not unnatural.”
This short soliloquy focuses on the upcoming conversation between Hamlet and his mother, Queen Gertrude, and its preparation in Hamlet’s mind. Hamlet decides his course of action for the conversation with his mother. He vows to treat her harshly, but to refrain from harming her, saying, “I will speak daggers to her, but use none.”