Hamlet Act 4 Quotes and Literary Devices

There’s matter in these sighs, these profound heaves speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Gertrude, Rosencrantz, and Guildensterncontext: in media res; recognizes that there is meaning but unsure of what it is; worried about the people and what they think of him
Mad as the sea and wind when both contend Which is the mightier speaker: Gertrude speaking to: Claudiuscontext: Hamlet is a stormy sea of emotions/madness literary device: metaphor of the sea, simile
kills The unseen good old man speaker: Gertrude speaking to: Claudiuscontext: telling Claudius that Hamlet just murdered Polonius; she had just told Hamlet she wouldn’t say anything to Claudius about what had happened
It had been so with us, had we been there speaker: Claudius speaking to: Gertrudecontext: “it could’ve been me:; for someone who claims to be such great friends with Polonius, he doesn’t seem to care at all about his death…
His liberty is full of threats to all- To you yourself, to us, to everyone. speaker: Claudius speaking to: Gertrudecontext: Hamlet cannot be “free” because he is a threat to Claudius; paranoidliterary device: personification (of liberty); caesura
how shall this bloody deed be answered? speaker: Claudius speaking to: Gertrude/himself (rhetorical)context: he is acting like he’s considering how to handle Hamlet after learning of the murder he committed, but he already has the plan to send him to England worked up in his mind; more deception
like the owner of a foul disease, To keep it from divulging, let it feed Even on the pith of life! speaker: Claudius speaking to: Gertrudecontext: pith=marrow; he kept Hamlet’s madness secret (from the people of Denmark) and it has been killing them from the inside like a disease would
The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch But we will ship him hence speaker: Claudius speaking to: Gertrudecontext: at dawn, ship Hamlet to England to make sure he is no longer a threat
Both countenance and excuse speaker: Claudius speaking to: Gertrudecontext: cover-up the murder or to forgive… (the former)
Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Rosencrantz and Guildensterncontext: telling R&G about the murder and attributing it to his ‘madness’*note: he still hasn’t acknowledged that his so-called friend is dead
bring the body Into the chapel speaker: Claudius speaking to: Rosencrantz and Guildensterncontext: shows religious/Catholic theology incorporated into the text
So, haply, slander, Whose whisper o’er the world’s diameter As level as the cannon to his blank, Transports his poisoned shot, may miss our name And hit the woundless air. speaker: Claudius speaking to: Gertrudecontext: gossip spread quickly and he hope nobody finds out the truth or else everyone will know; lowkey planning to project the murder onto Hamlet by disassociating themselves from him so that his name is not dishonoredliterary device: metaphor (canon)
Oh, come away, My soul is full of discord and dismay. speaker: Claudius speaking to: Gertrudecontext: COUPLET; only distraught because of the repercussions of Polonius’ death, not because his “friend” is now dead
whereto ’tis kin speaker: Hamlet speaking to: Rosencrantzcontext: everybody eventually turns to dust; we all end up in the same place
to be demanded of a sponge! speaker: Hamlet speaking to: Rosencrantzliterary device: metaphor (R&G are just sponges who soak up information and rewards)
He keeps them, like an ape, in the corner of his jaw, first mouthed to be last swallowed. speaker: Hamlet speaking to: Rosencrantz and Guildensterncontext: Hamlet knows Claudius is just using them but they clearly can’t see thatliterary device: allusion (animal’s eating habits), simile*note: the use of prose when speaking with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
you shall be dry again speaker: Hamlet speaking to: Rosencrantz and Guildensterncontext: once Claudius has gotten what he needs from them, they are nothing
A knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear. speaker: Hamlet speaking to: Rosencrantz and Guildensterncontext: “you’re dumb”; not surprised by Rosencrantz’s lack of understandingliterary device: personification (of speech/sly words); synecdoche (foolish ear used to call Rosencrantz a fool)
The body is with the King, but the King is not with the body. The King is the thing. speaker: Hamlet speaking to: Rosencrantz and Guildensterncontext: deliberate rhyming to confuse them and convey madness; Claudius doesn’t care about the people of Denmark, only his own agenda; Claudius’ facade is deceptiveliterary device: chiasmus
How dangerous it is that this man goes loose! speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: stage direction says “two or three”; Barry says kind of a soliloquycontext: exclamatory punctuation reveals emotional turmoil; mix of regret and anger and confusion
Yet must not we put the strong law on him; He’s loved of the distracted multitude. speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: two or three/selfcontext: Hamlet cannot be detained or firmly dealt with because the people of Denmark love him
Diseases desperate grown By desperate appliance are relieved, Or not at all. speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: two or three/selfcontext: “desperate times call for desperate measures”literary device: metaphor (disease)
Not where he eats, but where ‘a is eaten. A certain convocation of politic worms are e’en at him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet. speaker: Hamletspeaking to: Claudiuscontext: continuation of the decay motif, Polonius is rotting and being eaten by wormsliterary device: metaphor (convocation of politic worms)*note: use of prose when talking to Claudius
We fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots. speaker: Hamletspeaking to: Claudiuscontext: we feed other creatures so we can kill them and eat them, and we feed ourselves in this way only for maggots to feed on us once we’re dead; decay motif
two dishes, but to one table. speaker: Hamletspeaking to: Claudiuscontext: everyone ends up in the same place
to show you how a king may go a progress through the guts of a beggar speaker: Hamletspeaking to: Claudiuscontext: continuing to tell Claudius that we are all equal in death; a king will rot and decay, be fed on my worms which a beggar uses to fish, then pass through the beggar inside the worm inside the fish
seek him i’th’other place yourself speaker: Hamletspeaking to: Claudiuscontext: zinger! you’re going to hell with Polonius anyway, why don’t you find him there?
you shall nose him as you go up the stairs into the lobby speaker: Hamletspeaking to: Claudiuscontext: you’ll smell Polonius’ rotting body here; indicates the location of the body
this deed, for thine especial safety- speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Hamletcontext: about to tell him he’s sending him to England; sarcastic/fake use of ‘thine’
if thou knew’st our purposes speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Hamletcontext: “muahahahahahaha” -Mrs. Barry
so, my mother. speaker: Hamletspeaking to: Claudiuscontext: antagonistic; getting under Claudius’ skin
England, if my love thou hold’st at aught- speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: selfliterary device: metonymy
thy cicatrice looks raw and red… – thou mayst not coldly set speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: selfcontext: using disease imagery to portray the rotten-ness of Denmark and the entire situation
By letter congruing to that effect, The present death of Hamlet. speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: selfcontext: sent instructions in letters with R&G to England for Hamlet to be put to death; nobody knows except for Claudius
Do it, England, And thou must cure me. speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: selfcontext: Claudius wants to be “cured” of Hamlet’s presenceliterary device: metonymy/apostrophe, metaphor (disease=Hamlet)
a promised march Over his kingdom speaker: Fortinbrasspeaking to: Captain of his armycontext: the march which Claudius had approved so Norway could get to Poland
We go to gain a little patch of ground That hath in it no profit but the name. speaker: Captainspeaking to: Hamletcontext: there is no reason for the army to want the land in Poland but to gain a little bit to their name and to their land
That inward breaks and shows no cause without Why the man dies. speaker: Hamletspeaking to: Captaincontext: Hamlet is perplexed because the men of this army are willing to die for such a trivial cause
How all occasions do inform against me And spur my dull revenge! speaker: Hamletspeaking to: selfcontext: beginning of his self-reflective/self-incriminating soliloquyliterary device: personification (occasions)
What is a man, If his chief good and market of his time Be but to sleep and feed? speaker: Hamletspeaking to: selfcontext: there is no purpose to life if all you do is eat and sleep and go about your daily routine without further action; humans are able to act very violently for very little gain
Sure He that made us with such large discourse… That capability and godlike reason To fust in us unused. speaker: Hamletspeaking to: selfcontext: man lives a purposed life, God didn’t give man this life for man not to use it properly
whether it be Bestial oblivion speaker: Hamletspeaking to: selfcontext: comparing a man to an animal in that an animal does not have the reason and rational thought which a man is capable of; however, which is better: under-thinking (bestial, animal) or over-thinking (rational, man)
hath but on part wisdom And ever three parts coward-I do not know Why yet I live to say “This thing’s to do,” speaker: Hamletspeaking to: selfcontext: the unknown or cowardice?; Why haven’t I done it yet? Why haven’t I killed Claudius when I have the reason and means to do so?
Witness this army of such mass and charge, Led by a delicate and tender prince. speaker: Hamletspeaking to: selfcontext: the army is so courageous and willing to give their lives despite their lack of purpose (land that is not even of value)
the invisible event, Exposing what i mortal and unsure To all that fortune, death, and danger dare, speaker: Hamletspeaking to: selfcontext: the army is so courageous and willing to give their lives despite their lack of purpose (land that is not even of value)literary device: alliteration (d)
for an eggshell speaker: Hamletspeaking to: selfliterary device: metaphor (eggshell=plot of land=nothing)
That have a father killed, a mother stained, Excitements of my reason and my blood, And let all sleep, while to my shame I see Th’imminent death of twenty thousand men speaker: Hamletspeaking to: selfcontext: self-reflection; he didn’t do anything to Claudius despite having sufficient reason to act on; shameful
Go to their graves like beds speaker: Hamletspeaking to: selfcontext: the soldier are as willing to die as they are to go to sleep at nightliterary device: simile
Oh, from this time forth, My thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth! speaker: Hamletspeaking to: selfcontext: slant rhyme/couplet; his resolve to commit to murder or nothing… ironic because he says “my thoughts” not “actions” or even “deeds”, but his thoughts have been focused on revenge the entire time, so this initiates no change for him
I will not speak with her. speaker: Gertrudespeaking to: Horatio and a gentleman/nursecontext: none; in media res
Spurns enviously that straws, speaks things in doubt that carry but half sense speaker: gentleman/nursespeaking to: Gertrude and Horatiocontext: Ophelia seems to be losing her grip on reality because of her dad’s death; concerned
And botch the words up fit to their own thoughts speaker: gentleman/nursespeaking to: Gertrude and Horatiocontext: people will talk about Ophelia and draw false conclusions due to their own assumptions and suspicions
‘Twere good she were spoken with, for she may strew Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds. speaker: Horatiospeaking to: Gertrude and gentleman/nursecontext: agreeing with the gentleman/nurse; people will draw false conclusions in their minds
To my sick soul, as sin’s true nature is, Each toy seems prologue to some great amiss. speaker: Gertrudespeaking to: asidecontext: COUPLET; first of two important couplets about the situation in Denmark; each little thing (toy) that occurs builds up to one big disaster literary device: metaphor (toy)
So full of artless jealousy is guilt, It spills itself in fearing to be spilt. speaker: Gertrudespeaking to: asidecontext: eventually it all comes out, but trying to hide guilt inside will make it more and more likely for it whatever it is to be revealedliterary device: metaphor (cup)
What did Ophelia look like as she entered the room during Scene 5? Why? Her hair was down and unkempt, she was playing on a loot as she was ready to sing songs. Everything about her appearance conveys her madness initiated by her father’s death.
He is dead and gone, lady, He is dead and gone; At his head a grass green turf, At his heels a stone. speaker: Opheliaspeaking to: Gertrudecontext: Polonius is dead
Nay, but Ophelia- speaker: Gertrudespeaking to: Opheliacontext: trying to make sense out of Ophelia and Polonius’ death but Ophelia is already insane
Conceit upon her father. speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: anyone who will listen to him (Gertrude)context: partially true, however, more indirect characterization of Claudius in that he continues to jump to conclusions about things and immediately make assumptions; similar to Hamlet situation
Quote she, ‘Before you tumbled me, You promised me to wed.’He answers: ‘So would I ha’ done, by yonder sun, An thou hadst not come to my bed.’ speaker: Opheliaspeaking to: Gertrude and Claudiuscontext: did Hamlet only use Ophelia?; revealing the intimacy of the relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia; “We will have no more marriage”
they would lay him i’the cold ground speaker: Opheliaspeaking to: Claudiuscontext: Polonius didn’t get the proper burial for a Head of State but was instead just thrown into his grave; clearly Ophelia is not distraught to the point of complete insanity*note: prose!!!
it springs All from her father’s death speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Gertrude/selfcontext: assuming that Ophelia’s insanity stemmed from her father’s death
When sorrows come, they come not single spies, But in battalions. speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Gertrude/selfcontext: when it rains, it pours
your son gone, and he most violent author Of his own just remove speaker: Claudiusspeaking to:Gertrudecontext: it’s Hamlet’s fault he was shipped off to England; “your” son shows he never really cared about Hamlet in the first place
we have done but greenly In hugger-mugger to inter him speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Gertrudecontext: worried about his own reputation; not hid Hamlet in the proper fashion (secrecy, thus far)
Like to a murdering piece, in many places Gives me superfluous death. speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Gertrudecontext: worried about how the people are viewing him; it’s KilLiNg him
Choose we! Laertes shall be the king! speaker: peoplespeaking to: Claudiuscontext: the people know something is rotten in Denmark so they turn to someone they trust and want him to guide them through it (i.e. Laertes)
How cheerfully on the false trail they cry speaker: Gertrudespeaking to: people/mobcontext: Laertes can’t/won’t be king so what they’re chanting is absurd
O thou vile king speaker: Laertesspeaking to: Claudiuscontext: “thou” is used sarcasticallyliterary device: invective
That drop of blood that’s calm proclaims me bastard. speaker: Laertesspeaking to: Claudiuscontext: Claudius has no right to tell laertes to calm down for it is under his watch that Polonius was killed and made Laertes father-less
What is the cause, Laertes, That thy rebellion looks so giant-like? speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: manipulation; of course Laertes will be mad his father was killed, but Claudius trivializes it to mess with him
why thou art thus incensed speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: “lol why r u so mad??”
Where is my father?Dead.But not by him.Let him demand his fill. speaker: exchange between Laertes, Claudius, and Gertrudespeaking to: each othercontext: rapid fire discourse is an example of stichomythia
I’ll not be juggled with. speaker: Laertesspeaking to: Claudius and Gertrudecontext: he won’t be manipulated or lied to anymore
To hell, allegiance! Vows, to the blackest devil! speaker: Laertesspeaking to: Claudius and Gertrudecontext: syntax conveys his anger, heavily punctuated ! and ?; uses strong language and imagery
Let come what comes, only I’ll be revenged Most thoroughly for my father. speaker: Laertesspeaking to: Claudius and Gertrudecontext: revenge motif continued through the play previously with Fortinbras and still with Hamlet
is’t writ in your revenge That, swoopstake, you will draw both friend and foe, Winner and loser? speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: setting him up- will Laertes still stick to his plan of revenge if the person who killed his father was his friend?
now you speak like a good child and a true gentleman speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: Claudius has Laertes in the palm of his hand; continued manipulation
I am guiltless of your father’s death, And am most sensibly in grief for it. speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: “Wasn’t me…” and claims to be grieving Polonius when really he seems like he couldn’t care any less
Tears seven times salt, Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye! speaker: Laertesspeaking to: Opheliacontext: Laertes can’t believe what he sees, his sister looks insane. He is absolutely devastated for what happened to Ophelia.literary device: synecdoche (eye)
There’s fennel for you, and columbines. speaker: Opheliaspeaking to: all literary device: symbolism (fennel-flattery; columbines- unchastity/ingratitude)
There’s rue for you, and here’s some for me. speaker: Opheliaspeaking to: allliterary device: symbolism (rue- repentance)
There’s a daisy. speaker: Opheliaspeaking to: allliterary device: symbolism (daisy- unrequited love)
I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died. speaker: Opheliaspeaking to: allcontext: the faithfulness in the kingdom had disappeared after the treatment of Polonius in his deathliterary device: symbolism (violet- faithfulness)
Thought and afflictions, passion, hell itself She turns to favor and to prettiness. speaker: Laertesspeaking to: all (mostly to Claudius and Gertrude)context: comments on how Ophelia is nonsensical; prior to her engaging in a popular funeral song of the time
Be you content to lend your patience to us, And we shall jointly labor with your soul To give it due content. speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: I know how you feel but calm down we will figure something out
his obscure funeral speaker: Laertesspeaking to: Claudiuscontext: acknowledging that Polonius definitely did not get the funeral he deserved as Head of State so his death was thus further obscured and made suspicious; Polonius didn’t get the recognition he deserved after death
let the great axe fall speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: continuing to speak in riddles and with confusing diction to further manipulate Laertes to stick to his agenda
How does Hamlet get back to Denmark after leaving on the boat to England with R&G? His ship and a pirate ship get into a fight. During the grapple, Hamlet boards the pirate ship where they treat him like a prince, looking to gain a reward. He returns to Denmark on the pirate ship.
of them I have much to tell thee speaker: Hamlet (in writing)speaking to: Horatiocontext: Hamlet has a lot to tell Horatio about the antics of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and what they were going to do to him in England
you must put me in your heart for friend speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: I’m your friend; more manipulation
he which hath your noble father slain Pursued my life speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: trying to illicit sympathy by saying that Polonius’ murderer tried to kill him too (he didn’t… yet)
Oh, for two special reasons, speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: explaining why he didn’t put Hamlet in jail yet-1. the people love him2. the queen loves him
the Queen his mother Lives almost by his looks, and for myself- my virtue or my plague- speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: he genuinely loves the queen and doesn’t want to ruin that relationship by incarcerating or killing her son*note: never outright says that Polonius’ killer is Hamlet
the great love the general gender bear him, Who, dipping all his faults in their affection, work like the spring that turneth wood to stone, Convert his gyves to graces speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: anything that Hamlet does, the people will make it seem like a good thing because they adore him to sucH GREAT EXTENT; he can’t do anything wrong in their eyesliterary device: metaphor/simile
And so have I a noble father lost, A sister driven into desp’rate terms speaker: Laertesspeaking to: Claudiuscontext: what about me? the people and the queen may care for Hamlet but I care for my father whom he killed and my sister he drove into madness
You shall hear more. I loved your father, and we love ourself, And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine- speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: seems like he’s about to introduce the name of the murderer and some sort of plan he had devised but is interrupted literary device: caesura
High and mighty, speaker: Hamlet (in letter)speaking to: Claudiuscontext: sarcastically referring to the king; bitter
What is the meaning of ‘naked’ in Hamlet’s letter? destitute
What should this mean? Are all the rest come back? Or is it some abuse, and no such thing? speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: in shock; one time that Polonius is actually caught off guard and confused
It warms the very sickness of my heart That I shall live and tell him to his teeth, “Thus didst thou.” speaker: Laertesspeaking to: Claudiuscontext: he NEEDS to get revenge on Hamlet; very very passionate in his need to do soliterary device: extended metaphor (disease)
Will you be ruled by me? speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: more manipulation by Claudius (no surprise there); Laertes will do everything Claudius tells him to do
But even his mother shall uncharge the practice And call it accident. speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: he has a plan to get revenge and kill Hamlet and it is so well-devised that there will be no blame for his death (patting himself on the back a little bit)
That I might be the organ. speaker: Laertesspeaking to: Claudiuscontext: the instrument of deathliterary device: conceit (music metaphor)
You have been talked of since your travel much, And that in Hamlet’s hearing, for a quality Wherein they say you shine speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: buttering him up about his swordsmanship to drop the plan on him
For art and exercise in your defense, And for your rapier most especial. speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: more ego stroking and manipulation
‘twould be a sight indeed If one could match you. speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: it would be great to see anyone face Laertes in a match; leading into his plan still
Did Hamlet so envenom with his envy That he could nothing do but wish and beg Your sudden coming o’er, to play with you. speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: dude Hamlet wants to fight you
Not that I think you did not love your father, But that I knew love is begun by time speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: Claudius is a manipulative ass
To cut his throat i’the church speaker: Laertesspeaking to: Claudiuscontext: PEAK of Laertes’ anger and desire for revengeliterary device: irony (Hamlet almost did this to Claudius)
Revenge should have no bounds. speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: egging him on and reaffirming the desire for vengeance
He, being remiss, Most generous and free from all contriving, Will not peruse the foils speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: Claudius knows Hamlet won’t inspect the swords before a duel with Laertes; forming their plan A to kill Hamlet
no cataplasm so rare, Collected from all simples that have virtue Under the moon, can save the thing from death That is but scratched withal. speaker: Laertesspeaking to: Claudiuscontext: he will dip the foil in poison; the poison is so deadly that once it touches Hamlet there won’t be anything anyone can do to save him
And that he calls for a drink, I’ll have prepared him A chalice for the nonce, whereon but sipping, If he by chance escape your venomed stuck, Our purpose may hold there. speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Laertescontext: back-up plan just in case Hamlet doesn’t die in the duel; poison Hamlet to kill him so that he dies no matter what
When down her weedy trophies and herself Fell in the weeping brook. speaker: Gertrudespeaking to: Laertescontext: explaining the constituents of Ophelia’s death; uses nature and flower imagery to portray her unfortunate death
I have a speech o’ fire that fain would blaze, But that this folly drowns it. speaker: Laertesspeaking to: Claudius and Gertrudecontext: not angry anymore; Ophelia is drowned to the fire that fueled his rage has been put out; demoralized
How much I had to do to calm his rage! Now fear I this will give it start again. speaker: Claudiusspeaking to: Gertrudecontext: angry that Gertrude told Laertes the news of Ophelia because he will no longer want to kill Hamlet since he is more grief-stricken than he is angry

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