Hamlet Act 2 & 3: Spot Passages

Denmark’s a prison. Hamlet to Rosencrantz and GuildensternHamlet feels that he is unable to escape the pressures of Denmark. He is alone, and many things happen that affect his life. He feels a sense of powerlessness over his own life.
I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw. Hamlet to Rosencrantz and GuildensternHamlet admits that his madness is feigned and that he is using it when it is convenient and suits his purposes.
Haply he is the second time come to them, for they say an old man is twice a child. Rosencrantz to HamletA comment on the mental state and tediousness of Polonius, especially demonstrating the childlike indulgence that he expects from people during his ramblings.
This is most brave, / That I, the son of a dear father murdered, / Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell, / Must, like a *****, unpack my heart with words / And fall a-cursing like a very drab / A scullion! Hamlet to himself or as an asideThis shows Hamlet berating himself for his failure to act swiftly in avenging his father’s death, obvious evidence of his tragic flaw: procrastination.
The spirit that I have seen / May be a devil, and the devil hath power / T’ assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps, / Out of my weakness and my melancholy, / As he is very potent with such spirits, / Abuses me to damn me. I’ll have grounds / More relative than this. The play’s the thing / Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King. Hamlet to himself or as an asideHamlet shows further hesitation, this time citing the need for proof that what the ghost says is true.
We are oft to blame in this / (‘Tis too much proved), that with devotion’s visage / And pious action we do sugar o’er / The devil himself. Polonius to OpheliaThis is a comment that often people who seem to be devout in their beliefs and actions are hypocritical and hide devious or evil intentions. This is apparent in Claudius’s actions, though Polonius is oblivious to this fact.
The harlot’s cheek beautied with plast’ring art / Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it / Than is my deed to my most painted word. Claudius to himself or as an asideClaudius is admitting his guilt to the auidence and stresses the point that he has masked his deeds with his words, which he further admits does nothing to change the evil nature of them.
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind. Ophelia to HamletPoor treatment cheapens the value of sentimental objects. Though she returns the remembrances because she is playing the role of the dutiful daughter, her words ring true.
We are arrant knaves all; believe none of us. Hamlet to OpheliaIn Hamlet’s apparent anger, he denounces all men. One might question if there is a hidden message to her about his feigned madness.
The lady doth protest too much, methinks. Gertrude to HamletThis demonstrates irony in that Gertrude comments on the player queen’s falseness in her love of the player king when this was reality for her own situation with her late husband.
‘Sblood, do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me. Hamlet to Rosencrantz and GuildensternThis demonstrates Hamlet’s outrage at feeling as though he is being manipulated or played upon by even those people that he should be able to trust but have shifted their loyalties to Claudius.
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 to himself or as an asideHamlet is frustrated that his words and actions cannot be congruent to his feelings about his mother.
My words fly up, my thoughts remain below; / Words without thoughts never to heaven go. Claudius to himself or as an asideClaudius desires forgiveness, but he is not truly regretful of his actions because he would not take them back given the opportunity. This is reflected in his inability to pray.
Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage, / For we will fetters put about this fear, / Which now goes too free-footed. Claudius to Rosencrantz and GuildensternAs he speaks with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Claudius is showing a newfound urgency when it comes to dealing with Hamlet as he fears Hamlet’s madness and is suspicious of his motives.

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