But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue.

from William Shakespeare – Hamlet Act 1 Scene 2 on Rap Genius

Meaning

A reoccurring theme within Hamlet is the ending of several long speeches by sudden interruption. The other famous instance of this is the end of “To be, or not To be” wherein Ophelia enters and Hamlet says, “Nymph, in thy orisons be all my sins remembered.”

This sudden breaking off makes up part of the interesting flow of Hamlet; he cannot escape reality even when delving into his own head. It also plants the idea that, unlike in many other Shakespearean pieces, the soliloquy is not a break from the action of the play, where the characters are simply verbalizing their inner monologue, but a continuation, i.e. Hamlet really is standing in a big empty room in the castle, speaking to himself.

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