Hamlet Act 2 and 3 Quotes

“Brevity is the soul of wit” Polonius to Claudius and Gertrude; means that he’ll get straight to the point; ironic because he just rambles on and on and on
“Your noble son is mad. Mad call it it; for to define true madness What is’t but to be nothing else but mad?” Polonius to Hamlet; means Hamlet is mad and upset
“Though this be madness, yet there is a method in’t-“ Polonius to himself; it’s an aside; referring to Hamlet’s strange behavior; he assumes that there is a cause to his madness (Ophelia’s rejection)
“More matter with less art” Gertrude to Polonius; tells him to just get to the point and stop rambling about things
O Hamlet, speak no more:Thou turn’st my very eyes into my soul,And there I see such black and grained spotsAs will not leave their tinct (III.iv.88-91)…O speak to me no more;these words like daggars enter my ears;No more, sweet Hamlet! Gertrude to Hamlet; ertrude remains faithful to him, protecting him fron the King. And, although her love for Claudius is wrong by moral standards, she is now his queen, and remains loyal to him.
“It shall be so.Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.” Cladius to Hamlet; When important people start to show signs of insanity, you have to watch them closely.
“My words fly up; my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to Heaven go” Claudius to himself; saying his words go to heaven but not thoughts so doesn’t count.
“You are a fishmonger” Hamlet to Polonius; pretending to be mad; basically called him a poor commoner
“To me it is a prison” Hamlet to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; he’s referring to not being able to leave Denmark because he is the future heir; he’s also pretending to be mad at this point Metaphor for his entire situation. Feels like Denmark’s a prison because he can’t leave and his friends disagree
“Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. To me, it is a prison” Hamlet to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; Denmark is a prison to Hamlet.
“I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of excercises, and indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame…” Hamlet; He is grieving. Human kind is so great, but Hamlet is not impressed with it lately.
“I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw” Hamlet to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; he’s pretending to be mad, but he’s also trying to hint to them that he’s just pretending it
“Use every man after his desert and who shall ‘scape whipping?” Hamlet to Polonius; saying “My lord, I will use them according to their desert.” Hamlet says if you judge everyone according to what they’ve done then how can anyone escape punishment. People require mercy and the more you give when they deserve less the more your generosity is valued.
“O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!” Hamlet exclaims this statement after seeing that he has less passion than the actor. This line starting the soliloquy sets the mood of the speech by declaring himself ashamed that he has done so little to avenge his father’s death.
“To be, or not to be, that is the question” Hamlet to himself; Thinking about suicide, it it worth it?
“Get thee to a nunnery” Hamlet to Ophelia; he exhorts Ophelia to put herself away so that she may never breed sinners like Hamlet.
“If thou dost marry, I’ll give thee this plague for thy dowry. Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery, go. Farewell. Or, if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go, and quickly too. Farewell.” Hamlet to Ophelia; If you marry, I’ll give you this curse as your wedding present—be as clean as ice, as pure as the driven snow, and you’ll still get a bad reputation. Get yourself to a convent, at once. Good-bye. Or if you have to get married, marry a fool, since wise men know far too well that you’ll cheat on them. Good-bye.
“I have heard of your paintings too, well enough. God has given you one face and you make yourselves another. You jig and amble, and you lisp, you nickname God’s creatures and make your wantonness your ignorance. Go to, I’ll no more on ‘t. It hath made me mad. I say, we will have no more marriages. Those that are married already, all but one, shall live. The rest shall keep as they are. To a nunnery, go.” Hamlet to Ophelia; I’ve heard all about you women and your cosmetics too. God gives you one face, but you paint another on top of it. You dance and prance and lisp; you call God’s creations by pet names, and you excuse your sexpot ploys by pleading ignorance. Come on, I won’t stand for it anymore. It’s driven me crazy. I hereby declare we will have no more marriage. Whoever is already married (except one person I know) will stay married—all but one person. Everyone else will have to stay single. Get yourself to a convent, fast.
“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Hamlet to Gertrude; Player Queen is promising too much.
“Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me! You would play upon me. You would seem to know my stops. You would pluck out the heart of my mystery. You would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass. And there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ, yet cannot you make it speak? ‘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, yet you cannot play upon me.” Hamlet to Polonius; Well, look how you play me—as if you knew exactly where to put your fingers, to blow the mystery out of me, playing all the octaves of my range—and yet you can’t even produce music from this little instrument? My God, do you think I’m easier to manipulate than a pipe? You can push my buttons, but you can’t play me for a fool.
“Tis now the very witching time of night,When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes outContagion to this world. Now could I drink hot bloodAnd do such bitter business as the bitter dayWould quake to look on. Soft, now to my mother.—O heart, lose not thy nature, let not everThe soul of Nero enter this firm bosom.Let me be cruel, not unnatural.” Hamlet saying he’s ready to kill
“Oh, my offence is rank. It smells to Heaven. It hath the primal eldest curse upon ‘t, a brother’s murder” Hamlet to himself;my crime is so rotten it stinks all the way to heaven. It has the mark of CAINIn the Bible, Cain was the first murderer, killing his brother in Genesis 4:10-12.Cain on it, a brother’s murder. I can’t pray, though I want to desperately. My guilt is stronger even than my intentions.
Now might I do it pat. Now he is a-praying. Hamlet to himself; saying he doesn’t want to kill him while he’s praying, he might go to heaven that way
“No, by the rood, not so.You are the queen, your husband’s brother’s wife,And—would it were not so!—you are my mother” Hamlet to Gertrude; wish you weren’t my mom
“How now, a rat? Dead for a ducat, dead!” Hamlet to Gertrude; Hamlet hears Polonius make a noise behind the arras and stabs it
“A bloody deed? Almost as bad, good mother, As kill a king and marry with his brother.” Hamlet to Gertrude; telling her that Claudius killed King Hamlet in order to seize the throne
“thou wretched, rash intruding fool, farewell! I took thee for they better” Hamlet is now telling the audience that he killed him for the better of everyone, and that he should be grateful that he is dead.
“Nay, but to liveIn the rank sweat of an enseamèd bedStewed in corruption, honeying and making love” Hamlet to Gertrude; Yes, and you lie in the sweaty stench of your dirty sheets, wet with corruption, making love—
“Let it work; For ’tis the sport to have” Hamlet saying things are going to blow-up and go out of control
“this counselorIs now most still, most secret, and most graveWho was in life a foolish prating knave.—Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.—Good night, mother.” Hamlet to Gertrude; Now that I’ve killed this guy, I’ll be off in a hurry. I’ll lug his guts into the next room. Mother, have a good night. This politician who was in life a babbling idiot is now quiet and serious. Come on, sir, let’s get to the end of our business. Good night, mother.

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