Hamlet's Sixth Soliloquy: Original Text & Summary

Updated on February 22, 2018

Hamlet's Sixth Soliloquy falls in Act 3, Scene 3. The basis of this scene is formed when the play has been abandoned and skipped by the guilty King Claudius. Hamlet planned the play deliberately, so as to catch the conscious of the King and to find if he indeed killed his father and the dead soul was right in his blame. Now, Hamlet has found the truth and intends to kill the villain who killed Prince Hamlet's father.

Original Text: (Act 3, Scene 3)

Now might I do it pat now he is praying,
And now I'll do it, and so he goes to heaven.
And so am I revenged, that would be scanned.
A villain kills my father; and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send to heaven.
O, this is hire and salary, not revenge.
He took my father grossly, full of bread -
With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May.
And how his audit stands, who knows save heaven?
But in our circumstance and course of thought,
'Tis heavy with him, and am I, then, revenged;
To take him in the purging of his soul,
When he is fit and seasoned for his passage?
No.
Up, sword, and know thou a more horrid hent:
When he is drunk asleep or in his rage;
Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed;
At gaming, swearing or about some act
That has no relish of salvation in it.
Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven,
And that his soul may be as damned and black
As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays,
This physic but prolongs thy sickly days.

Summary and Explanation

In Act 3, Scene 3, we observe the sixth soliloquy of Hamlet. It arrives soon after, when he sees the King Claudius and draws a naked sword to kill him. He comes with such intentions but restrains himself when the thought arises in his mind that by killing the murderer King, while he is in the act of praying and seeking forgiveness for his sins, will send him directly to Heaven and this, according to Hamlet, will not be revenge. Hamlet’s thinks that as he is the sole son of his dead father, and his aim is to seek revenge and fulfill the promise of his father’s murder. He says that it will be unfair if he himself sends the murderer of his father straight to heaven and that will be no revenge at all.

Hamlet thinks that King Claudius killed his father in a state, when there was no reason for God to wave his sins and misdeeds, and Hamlet’s father must have paid or paying the divine penalty of his crimes and sins. Now to kill Claudius in a position, where his sins will be ignored and he will be sent straight to heaven is no revenge at all. Hence, Hamlet decides not to fulfill his task this time. He tells himself to wait for an opportunity and kill the King when he is “drunk, asleep, or in his rage, or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed, at gaming, swearing or about some act that has no relish of salvation in it.”

In this way, when the King Claudius will be killed, he will have to pay for his sins and misdeeds, and will be totally accountable for his crimes and that will justify the act of revenge and the promise the Prince Hamlet made to his beloved, dead father.

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Takwa ben Mohamed 

        20 months ago

        Very well-written articles!! Shakespeare's diction is really difficult and

      • profile image

        hina 

        6 years ago

        i was so confused about it but now every thing is clear

      • profile image

        jade 

        6 years ago

        ignore the previous comment sorry to be such a pain! I wrote this on the wrong soliloquy!

      • profile image

        jade 

        6 years ago

        my mistake it does appear in act 3 scene 2

      • Hunbbel Meer profile imageAUTHOR

        Syed Hunbbel Meer 

        7 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan.

        Yes, that is what Hamlet thinks in this soliloquy. As he says:

        "A villain kills my father; and for that,

        I, his sole son, do this same villain send to heaven.

        O, this is hire and salary, not revenge. He will kill King Claudius when:

        "When he is drunk asleep or in his rage;

        Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed;

        At gaming, swearing or about some act

        That has no relish of salvation in it."

        Instead he plans to kill King Claudius, so that the revenge can be equalized:

        "

      • profile image

        Sueswan 

        7 years ago

        So Hamlet will kill King Claudius when he is committing an act of sin and Claudius will go to hell .

      • profile image

        gekeye 

        7 years ago

        The chapel scene, which features this soliloquy, was expurgated from any versions of the play for early 200 years--until the mid-1800's--because Christians were offended at Hamlet's "playing God" and determining the criterian for Claudius to go to heaven or to hell.

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