“I know the king and queen have sent for you” (2:2 281) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are asked by the king and queen to spy and check on Hamlet. They want to know whats wrong with him and ask them to report back to them when they find anything out.
“Can you play the murder of Gonzago?” In this scene Hamlet gets the actors to change the play so that the murder of Gonzago is matching the murder of Hamlet sr. to see what Claudius’ reaction will be.
(633-634) “The plays the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King” Modern Day Translation: By re-enacting the scene where the king killed hamlet’s father, hamlet will try to see if Claudius flinches, or shows guilt.
“To be or not to be- that is the question” Modern day translation: To live or not to live? That is the question. Importance: Hamlet is deciding to stay alive and deal with the revenge of his father , or to commit suicide to try to resolve his problems.
“Get thee to a nunnery” Go to a convent Here Hamlet is telling Ophelia that she needs to go to a convent because she is a prostitute. This line is important because it shows that Hamlet believes that all women are deceitful. He may or may not have known that his conversation with Ophelia was being spied on and he believed that Ophelia dumped him in public to get a reaction.
“Me thinks the lady dost protest too much” In Shakespeare’s time, “protest” meant “vow” or “declare solemnly”. Gertrude, therefore, thinks that the Player Queen’s vows are too elaborate and too insistent to be truthful and believable. She also could be implying that the vows are silly and thus indirectly tries to defend her own quick remarriage.
“Lights, lights” The meaning behind this is that Claudius felt accused or guilty for the murder of Hamlet Sr. He wanted to get away from the Mousetrap Play that was trying to show the current king, killing the old king.
“O, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven . . . a brother’s murder” Translation:”Oh, my crime is so rotten it stinks all the way to heaven . . . a brother’s murder.What is going on: Claudius speaking to himself after Polonius goes off to spy on Hamlet. He is basically admitting to the murder of Hamlet Sr.
Now might I do it . . . while he is praying . . . and so he goes to heaven” Luke Modern Translation: Hamlet finally has the opportunity to kill his uncle, and now step dad Claudius for killing his father, and then marrying his mother. Hamlet is faced with the hard decision on if he should kill Claudius while he is praying or not, because if he kills him while Claudius is praying, Claudius will go to heaven and not hell like what Hamlet wants of him.
“Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended””Mother, you have my father much offended” Mary Modern Translation: Gertrude: Hamlet, you’ve insulted your dad(referring to Claudius) Hamlet: Mom, you’ve insulted my dad (referring to his real dad, Hamlet Sr.)After the Mousetrap Play, Gertrude tells Hamlet that he offended his father, Claudius, by publicly accusing him of murder. Hamlet responds by saying that she has offended his real father, Hamlet Sr., by remarrying so quickly and potentially assisting in Hamlet Sr.’s murder.
“What ho! Help! . . . O, I am slain! Polonius yells for help fearing for Gertrude but Hamlet hears him and stabs him through the carpet. Polonius yells that he is dead and Hamlet was disappointed because he thought it was Cladius behind the carpet.
What ho! Help! . . . O, I am slain! He is saying help help…I am now killed As Hamlet is questioning his mother on what she knows about his fathers death things get physical and she yells for help. Polonious isbehind a wall carpet hears this and also yells forhelp. Hamlet then stabs him through the curtain not knowing who he killed and Polonious is stabbedhe yells out…
Ophelia sings this to Gertrude:”He is dead and gone, lady, he is dead and gone.” In this quotation Ophelia comes to Gertrude upset and angry because of her fathers death. No one gives Ophelia an explanation and in result she goes crazy.
“Let in the maid, and out a maid Never departed more” Cameron Modern Translation: This quote explains how Ophelia lost her virginity. She lost her virginity to Hamlet as a nice young women, but do to everything that has happened with her father and on top of that Hamlet calling her a prostitute for some reason. She was separated from Hamlet as kind of an insane women and not the nice girl she started with.
“Before you tumbled me, you promised me to wed””So would I’ a done, . . hadst not come to my bed” Modern Day Translation: Ophelia sings about a boy (Hamlet) that had promised a girl (herself) that he would marry her if she slept with himModern Day Translation: the boy (Hamlet) said he would have married her if she had not slept with him. Importance: There is a double standard for woman in this time period
“How came he dead? . . . I dare damnation . . . only I’ll be most thoroughly revenged for my father” At this point Laertes is telling Claudius that he will get revenge for his father even if it means he goes to hell. Laertes still does not know how his father died but he already knows he will get revenge on whoever had something to do with his father’s death.
“What would you undertake to show yourself indeed your father’s son in more than words?” /”To cut his throat i’ th’ church” This quote, said by Laertes, is to show how far he would go for revenge for the death of his father. The fact that he is willing to kill his murderer in church, means he does not care how sinful it is, he will kill the murderer (Hamlet) no matter what. Laertes describes that he will do more than mentally hurt Hamlet for killing his father, because he must honor his father by killing him in revenge.
“For that purpose I’ll annoint my sword . . . if I gall him slightly, it may be death” I will poison my sword if it strikes him even a little, he will die. Laertes is getting revenge for his father by killin Hamlet. Claudius and Laertes create a plan to poison a sword in a fencing match in hopes the poison will strike Hamlet and kill him.
“And that he calls for a drink, I’ll have prepared him . . . if he by chance escape your venomed stuck” Modern Translation:”If he gets thirsty, I will have a drink for him…if by chance you fail to do your task.”Context:This is happening right before the fencing scene where Claudius and Laertes are plotting to kill Hamlet.
“Fell in a weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide . . . to muddy death” Her clothes were spread wide in the water while she sang more old hymns. She didn’t realize what danger she was in, or she was completely used to being in danger. But it was only a matter of time before her heavy clothes weighed her down into the mud and drowned her.
“I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers could not with all their quanity of love make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?” Modern Translation:”I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers, if you added all their love together, couldn’t match mine. What are you going to do for her?”When Hamlet says theses words to Laertes you can tell that Hamelt actually did love Ophelia, he wasnt just “using” her. Hamlet is saying that he deeply truly did love Ophelia a lot.

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