Hamlet Act 1

Horatio’s reaction to first seeing the ghost ‘it harrows me with fear and wonder’
Horatio on Hamlet the older – ghost’s expression is similar to the King when… ‘he smote the sledded Polacks on the ice’
Horatio on the ghost being a bad omen ‘this bodes some strange eruption to our state’
Horatio mentions fate ‘if thou art privy to thy country’s fate… O speak’
Marcellus on Christian superstition of cocks crowing ‘it faded on the crowing of the cock’
Hamlet suggests there is something very wrong with the idea of his father’s spirit being in purgatory ‘foul play’
Claudius justifies his remarriage (here we can see the hollow and emotionless way in which he speaks) ‘with mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage’
Hamlet shows conflict between what seems and is when Gertrude tells him his grief ‘seems so particular’ ”seems’, madam – nay, it is’
Claudius ironically reiterates the ‘incestuous’ (according to Hamlet) nature of his marriage by calling Gertrude his sister and now Queen ‘our sometime sister, now our Queen’
Gertrude shows caring nature towards Hamlet – she wants him to stay with her ‘I pray thee, stay with us. Go not to Wittenberg’
Claudius only wants Hamlet to stay in the court so he can keep an eye on him ‘in the cheer and comfort of our eye’
Gertrude outlines the common nature of death to Hamlet ”tis common that all lives must die/ Passing through nature to eternity’
Claudius reveals what he thinks grieving for a parent is ‘filial obligation’
Claudius thinks Hamlet’s grief is not masculine ”tis unmanly grief’
Claudius uses repetition as a rhetoric device to show Hamlet that his grief is a vice ”tis a fault… a fault… a fault’
Hamlet reveals how weary etc the world is to him ‘How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable/Seem to me all the uses of this world!’
Hamlet compares the world to a garden ‘Tis an unweeded garden/That grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature/Possess it merely’
Hamlet reveals that he wishes he was dead ‘Oh, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt,/Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew,/Or that the Everlasting had not fixed/His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter!’
Hamlet describes how much his father loved his mother ‘So loving to my mother/That he might not beteem the winds of heaven/Visit her face too roughly’
Way in which he describes his mother’s love for old Hamlet is almost parasitic ‘Why, she would hang on him/As if increase of appetite had grown/By what it fed on’
Compares Gertrude to goddess of mourning – high expectations! ‘she followed my poor father’s body,/Like Niobe, all tears’
BBTS Mitia russian accent ‘Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears/Had left the flushing in her gallèd eyes’
Wicked speed -> incestuous sheets ‘O most wicked speed to post./With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!’
Terrible burden on Hamlet – he must suffer in silence ‘But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue’
Hamlet agrees to speak to the ghost but words are laced with ideas of fate and damnation ‘I’ll speak to it, though Hell itself should gape’
Hamlet reveals terror of what is to come (fate) ‘foul deeds will rise’
Laertes is skeptical that Hamlet loves Ophelia ‘then if he says he loves you/ It fits your wisdom so far to believe it’
Laertes on how it’s not Hamlet’s choice who he marries ‘his will is not his own’
What Laertes calls his sister’s virginity ‘chaste treasure’
Most chaste maid is prodigal if she gets naked ‘the chariest maid is prodigal enough/ if she unmask her beauty to the moon’
Ophelia suggests Laertes might be a hypocrite ‘Do not… show me the steep and thorny way to heaven/Whiles… himself the primrose path of dalliance treads’
Polonius worried about ‘Ophelia’s honour’ ‘it behoves my daughter and your honour’
Polonius is worried Ophelia will make him look bad ‘you’ll tender me a fool’
Polonius – Ophelia is like a baby ‘think yourself a baby/ That you have ta’en these tenders for true pay’
Green girl quote ‘Affection? Pooh, you speak like a green girl/ Unsifted in such perilous circumstance’
Ophelia shows her subservience ‘I shall obey, my lord’
Exchange between Horatio and Marcellus revealing that it has struck midnight (before ghost’s appearance) ‘I think it lacks of twelve”No, it is struck’
Horatio worries the ghost will bring danger on Hamlet (reminiscent of Ophelia’s death – drowning) ‘what if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord/ Or to the dreadful summit of a cliff?’
Ghost tells Hamlet to avenge him ‘Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder’
Hamlet tells ghost he will be hasty in his revenge ‘With wings as swift/ As meditation or the thoughts of love/ May sweep to my revenge’
Ghost gives foul, bestial description of Claudius ‘Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast’
Gertrude only appears virtuous ‘seeming virtuous Queen’
Description of poisoning of King – foul language ‘juice of cursed hebona”vile and loathsome crust’
‘Let not the royal bed of Denmark be’… vile description of marriage bed. Link with massy wheel (royal bed affects whole country) ‘Let not the royal bed of Denmark be/ A couch for luxury and damned incest’
Anger at Gertrude in 2nd soliloquy ‘O most pernicious woman’
More bestial imagery surrounding Claudius – serpent this time (tempts Gertrude as Eve?) ‘serpent that did sting thy father’s life/ Now wears his crown’
Ghost tells Hamlet to go easy on Gertrude ‘taint not thy mind… against your mother’
Hamlet keeps changing his mind about the ghost (this time he’s positive) ‘it is an honest ghost’
“Our sometime sister, now our Queen” Claudius in beginning speech
“A little more than kin, and less than kind.” Hamlet in aside while with Claudius
“Seems, madam! Nay, it is; I know not “seems” Hamlet to Gertrude
“O, that this too too solid flesh would melt, Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew.” Hamlet in his soliloquy about suicide
“How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable Seem to me all the uses of this world.” Hamlet in his soliloquy about suicide
“Frailty, thy name is woman!” Hamlet in his soliloquy about suicide
“But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue.” Hamlet in his soliloquy about suicide
“Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral bak’d meatsDid coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.” Hamlet to horatio
“A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.” Horatio to Hamlet
“I’ll speak to it though Hell itself should gapeAnd bid me hold my peace” Hamlet to Horatio, bernardo and marcellus
“For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favours,Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood;A violet in the youth of primy nature,Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,The perfume and suppliance of a minute —No more.” Laertes to Ophelia about Hamlet’s love
“Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,Whiles, like a puff’d and reckless libertine,Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads.And recks not his own rede.” Ophelia to Laertes
“Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar” Polonius to Laertes
“Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.” Polonius to Laertes
“Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;For the apparel oft proclaims the man.” Polonius to Laertes
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be:For loan oft loses both itself and friend.” Polonius to Laertes
“This above all — to thine own self be true;And it must follow, as the night the day,Thou canst not then be false to any man” Polonius to Laertes
“But to my mind, — though I am native hereAnd to the manner born, — it is a customMore honour’d in the breach than the observance.” Hamlet to Horatio before ghost
“Why, what should be the fear?I do not set my life at a pin’s fee,And for my soul, what can it do to that,Being a thing immortal as itself?” Hamlet to Horatio when ghost appears
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” Marcellus to Horatio
“My hour is almost comeWhen I to sulphrous and tormenting flamesMust render up myself.” ghost to Hamlet
“The serpent that did sting thy father’s lifeNow wears his crown.” ghost to Hamlet
“Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin.” ghost to Hamlet
“O horrible, O horrible, most horrible” ghost to Hamlet
“And each particular hair to stand on end,Like quills upon the fretful porpentine” ghost to Hamlet
“O most pernicious woman!O, villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!My tables, — meet it is I set it down,That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain” hamlet to himself after ghost leaves
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Hamlet to Horatio
“How strange or odd soe’er I bear myself —As I perchance hereafter shall think meetTo put an antic disposition on” Hamlet to Marcellus and Horatio
“The time is out of joint; O cursed spite,That ever I was born to set it right!” Hamlet to Marcellus and Horatio
Thou art a scholar, speak to it, horatio. Marcellus to Horatio
Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen… taken to wife. Claudius to the assembly
A little more than kin, less than kind. Hamlet to himself
Good Hamlet, cast thy knighted color off. Gertrude to Hamlet
But I have that within which passeth show, these, but the trappings and the suits of woe. Hamlet to Gertrude
Tis unmanly grief… an understanding simple and unschooled. Claudius to Hamlet
O, that this too solid flesh would melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a dew! Or that the everlasting had not fixed his canon gainst self slaughter. Hamlet to himself
His greatness weighed, his will is not his own; for he himself is subject to his birth. Laertes to Ophelia
This above all, to thine self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. Polonius to Laertes
Tender yourself more dearly; or you’ll tender me a fool! Polonius to Ophelia
I would not, in plain terms, from this time fourth have you so slander any moment leisure as to give words or talk with the lord hamlet. Polonius to Ophelia
They clepe us drunkards. Hamlet to Horatio
What if it tempt you toward the flood… And draw you into madness. Horatio to Hamlet
Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder Ghost to Hamlet
The serpent that did sting thy fathers life now wears his crown. Ghost to Hamlet
Thus was I, sleeping, by a brothers hand of life, of crown, of queen, once dispatched. Ghost to Hamlet
No reckoning made, but sent to my account with all my imperfections on my head. Ghost to Hamlet
How strange or odd soe’er I bear myself – as I perchance hereafter shall think meet to put an antic disposition on… Hamlet to Horatio, Marcellus, and Ghost
In what particular thought to work I know not,But in the gross and scope of mine opinionThis bodes some strange eruption to our state. Horatio
That can I.At least, the whisper goes so: our last king,Whose image even but now appeared to us,Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,Thereto pricked on by a most emulate pride,Dared to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet(For so this side of our known world esteemed him)85Did slay this Fortinbras, who by a sealed compactWell ratified by law and heraldry,Did forfeit, with his life, all those his landsWhich he stood seized of to the conqueror, Horatio
Now, sir, young Fortinbras,Of unimprovèd mettle hot and full,Hath in the skirts of Norway here and thereSharked up a list of lawless resolutes,For food and diet, to some enterpriseThat hath a stomach in ‘t, which is no other—As it doth well appear unto our state—But to recover of us, by strong handAnd terms compulsatory, those foresaid landsSo by his father lost: Horatio
I think it be no other but e’en so.Well may it sort that this portentous figureComes armèd through our watch so like the kingThat was and is the question of these wars. Barnardo
But look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastward hill.Break we our watch up, and by my advice,Let us impart what we have seen tonightUnto young Hamlet, for, upon my life,This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him. Horatio
Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother’s deathThe memory be green, and that it us befittedTo bear our hearts in grief and our whole kingdomTo be contracted in one brow of woe,Yet so far hath discretion fought with natureThat we with wisest sorrow think on himTogether with remembrance of ourselves.Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,Th’ imperial jointress to this warlike state,Have we—as ’twere with a defeated joy,With an auspicious and a dropping eye,With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,In equal scale weighing delight and dole—Taken to wife. Claudius
Thus much the business is: we have here writTo Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras—Who, impotent and bedrid, scarcely hearsOf this his nephew’s purpose—to suppressHis further gait herein, in that the levies,The lists, and full proportions are all madeOut of his subject; Claudius
A little more than kin, and less than kind. Hamlet
“Seems,” madam? Nay, it is. I know not “seems.”‘Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,Nor customary suits of solemn black,Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,Nor the dejected ‘havior of the visage,Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief, That can denote me truly. These indeed “seem,”For they are actions that a man might play.But I have that within which passeth show,These but the trappings and the suits of woe. Hamlet
‘Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,To give these mourning duties to your father.But you must know your father lost a father,That father lost, lost his, and the survivor boundIn filial obligation for some termTo do obsequious sorrow. But to perseverIn obstinate condolement is a courseOf impious stubbornness. ‘Tis unmanly grief.It shows a will most incorrect to heaven,A heart unfortified, a mind impatient,An understanding simple and unschooled.For what we know must be and is as commonAs any the most vulgar thing to sense,Why should we in our peevish oppositionTake it to heart? Claudius
For your intentIn going back to school in Wittenberg,It is most retrograde to our desire.And we beseech you, bend you to remainHere in the cheer and comfort of our eye,Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son. Claudius
This gentle and unforced accord of HamletSits smiling to my heart, in grace whereofNo jocund health that Denmark drinks today Claudius
Oh, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt,Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew,Or that the Everlasting had not fixedHis canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God, God!How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitableSeem to me all the uses of this world!Fie on ‘t, ah fie! ‘Tis an unweeded gardenThat grows to seed. Things rank and gross in naturePossess it merely. Hamlet
Frailty, thy name is woman!—A little month, or ere those shoes were oldWith which she followed my poor father’s body,Like Niobe, all tears. Why she, even she—O God, a beast that wants discourse of reasonWould have mourned longer!—married with my uncle,My father’s brother, but no more like my fatherThan I to Hercules. Within a month, Hamlet
Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral baked meatsDid coldly furnish forth the marriage tables. Hamlet
My father’s spirit in arms. All is not well.I doubt some foul play. Would the night were come! Hamlet
Perhaps he loves you now,And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirchThe virtue of his will, but you must fear.His greatness weighed, his will is not his own,For he himself is subject to his birth. Laertes
Then if he says he loves you,It fits your wisdom so far to believe itAs he in his particular act and placeMay give his saying deed, which is no furtherThan the main voice of Denmark goes withal.Then weigh what loss your honor may sustainIf with too credent ear you list his songs,Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure openTo his unmastered importunity. Laertes
This above all: to thine own self be true,And it must follow, as the night the day,Thou canst not then be false to any man.Farewell. My blessing season this in thee. Polonious
Tender yourself more dearly,Or—not to crack the wind of the poor phrase,Running it thus—you’ll tender me a fool. Polonious
This is for all:I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,Have you so slander any moment leisure,As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.Look to ‘t, I charge you. Come your ways. Polonious
This heavy-headed revel east and westMakes us traduced and taxed of other nations.They clepe us drunkards and with swinish phraseSoil our addition. And indeed it takesFrom our achievements, though performed at height,The pith and marrow of our attribute. Hamlet
Angels and ministers of grace defend us!Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned,Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,Be thy intents wicked or charitable,Thou comest in such a questionable shapeThat I will speak to thee. I’ll call thee “Hamlet,””King,” “Father,” “royal Dane.” O, answer me! Hamlet
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Marcellus
List, list, O, list!If thou didst ever thy dear father love—Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder. Ghost of Hamlet
But know, thou noble youth,The serpent that did sting thy father’s lifeNow wears his crown. Ghost of Hamlet
O Hamlet, what a falling off was there!From me, whose love was of that dignityThat it went hand in hand even with the vowI made to her in marriage, and to declineUpon a wretch whose natural gifts were poorTo those of mine. Ghost of Hamlet
So did it mine.And a most instant tetter barked about,Most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crustAll my smooth body.Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother’s handOf life, of crown, of queen at once dispatched, Ghost of Hamlet
Let us go in together,And still your fingers on your lips, I pray.The time is out of joint. O cursèd spite,That ever I was born to set it right!Nay, come, let’s go together. Hamlet
But come,Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,How strange or odd soe’er I bear myself(As I perchance hereafter shall think meetTo put an antic disposition on),That you, at such times seeing me, never shall—With arms encumbered thus, or this headshake,Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,As “Well, well, we know,” or “We could an if we would,”Or “If we list to speak,” or “There be an if they might,”Or such ambiguous giving out—to noteThat you know aught of me. This not to do,So grace and mercy at your most need help you,Swear. Hamlet
Perhaps he loves you now,15And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirchThe virtue of his will, but you must fear.His greatness weighed, his will is not his own,For he himself is subject to his birth. Laertes
Then if he says he loves you, It fits your wisdom so far to believe itAs he in his particular act and placeMay give his saying deed, which is no furtherThan the main voice of Denmark goes withal.Then weigh what loss your honor may sustainIf with too credent ear you list his songs,Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure openTo his unmastered importunity. Laertes
This above all: to thine own self be true,And it must follow, as the night the day,Thou canst not then be false to any man.Farewell. My blessing season this in thee. Polonius
Horatio Hamlet’s best friend who is a student and attends Wittenberg
Bernardo, Marcellus, Fransisco guards of Denmark who are all afraid because they keep seeing the ghost
“Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen” Claudius acknowledging that he married his dead brother’s wife
Polonius Aide to King Claudius
“Cast the nighted color off, and let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.” Gertrude speaking to Hamlet telling him to stop looking at her like he hates her.
Laertes son of Polonius who wishes to return to France for college
“Frailty thy name is woman!” Hamlet, talking about his mother Gertrude
“I pray you all, if you have hitherto conceal’d this sight, let it be tenable in your silence still.” Hamlet speaking to Horatio and the guards about seeing the Ghost
Fortinbras Prince of Norway, looking to avenge the death of his father and reclaim land from Denmark.
“The serpent that did sting thy father’s life now wears his crown” “the ‘snake’ that killed me is Claudius” Ghost
“Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole, with juice of cursed hebona in a vial, and in the porches of my ears did pour the leprous distillment” The Ghost to Hamlet, “Claudius killed me by pouring poison in my ears”
Gertrude The Queen of Denmark, mother of Hamlet and wife of Claudius
Ophelia Polonius’ daughter who is in love with Hamlet even though his royal position would prevent their marriage.
“This above all: To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man” Prior to leaving for France, the most important advice Laertes receives from Polonius.
Claudius King of Denmark, Uncle to Hamlet, brother of the former king
Hamlet Prince of Denmark, recently returned from school in Wittenberg
The Ghost Appears to Hamlet and tells how the former king died.
usurp (v.) to seize and hold a position by force or without right
portentous (adj.) of momentous or ominous significance
harbinger (n.) something indicating the approach of something or someone.
partisan (n.) a pike with a long tapering blade with lateral projections
hallowed (adj.) worthy of religious veneration
auspicious (adj.) auguring favorable circumstances and good luck
filial (adj.) relating to or characteristic of or befitting an offspring; having family relationship
retrograde (adj.) moving or directed or tending in a backward direction
jocund (adj.) full of or showing high-spirited merriment
discourse (n.) extended verbal expression in speech or writing
truant (adj.) absent without permission
countenance (n.) the appearance conveyed by a person’s face
tenable (adj.) based on sound reasoning or evidence
besmirch (v.) smear so as to make dirty or stained
libertine (n.) a dissolute person, one without moral restraint
unfledged (adj.) young and inexperienced
censure (n.) harsh criticism or disapproval
husbandry (n.) the practice of cultivating the land or raising stock
parley (n./v.)Discussion, negotiation, esp. between enemies (noun); to have such a discussion (verb)
beguile (v.) to attract; cause to be enamored
traduce (v.) to speak unfavorably about
canonize (v.) to treat as a sacred person
sovereignty (n.) royal authority; the dominion of a monarch
adulterate (adj.) mixed with impurities
pernicious (adj.) exceedingly harmful

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