Hamlet Act I Quotes

“He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.” (1. 2. 188-189) Hamlet misses his father and is mourning that he will never find a father-figure like the King again, and never see his father as he knew him when he was alive
“Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice; Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;For the apparel oft proclaims the man.” (1. 3. 68.) Polonius to Laertes → advising him on how to behave as he departs to study in FranceAmplified use of antithesis to emphasize the didactic nature of this passage
“Unhand me, gentlemen,By heaven! I’ll make a ghost of him that lets me.” (1.4.85) Hamlet to those present when the Ghost beckons him Irony
“But to persever In obstinate condolement is a courseOf impious stubbornness; ’tis unmanly grief;It shows a will most incorrect to heaven,A heart unfortified, a mind impatient” (1.2.93) Claudius (“King of Denmark”) speaking to the mourning Hamlet . Claudius says that it’s good to mourn and all but Hamlet must realize that all people lose their father therefore he does not really have a good excuse to keep on mourning so long (so long in Claudius/Gertrude’s minds) and it’s actually shameful to continue mourning.To continue sorrowing is unmanly; it shows a feeble will, a weak heart, an impatient mind
“Neither a borrower, nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry, 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.” (1.3.69) Polonius advising Laertes
“A truant disposition, good my lord” (1.2.168). Horatio talking to Hamlet about why he is in Elsinore. Hamlet and Horatio greet each other after not seeing one another for awhile. First Hamlet tests Horatio on why he is there. For the wedding for his father’s funeral. Horatio jokes and says it is because he wants to skip school. Hamlet knows that is not true. Horatio admits it is for his father’s funeral and that his mother’s wedding but only because it happened right after.
“While one with moderate haste might tell a hundred” (1.2.236) Horatio talking to Hamlet following Hamlet’s soliloquy Hamlet asks Horatio how long the ghost stayed and Horatio replied that it stayed long enough for someone to count to 100
Hamlet: The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold. Horatio: It is a nipping and an eager air. (1.4.1) Hamlet and Horatio conversing (quote is said by BOTH)The night they are going to see the ghost. Commenting on how cold it is that night, possibly setting the mood as eerie and hinting at their eagerness to see the ghost and talk to it.
“Give thy thoughts no tongue,Nor any unproportioned thought his act.Be thou familiar but by no means vulgar.Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel. (1.3.59) Polonius talking to LaertesBefore Laertes is about to leave to France Polonius give him one final goodbye and advice. Compare to the advice he gives to Ophelia right after and see it is very different. Translation: Don’t say what you are thinking, or act too quickly upon thoughts. Be friendly, but not too friendly. Once you find trustworthy friends, do not lost them. And do not try to be friends with everyone you meet.
“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. (Act 1 scene 2)- Hamlet is explaining his grief to her motherGertrude basically agreed with Claudius that all father’s die and that Hamlet needs to get over it. Hamlet replies in a sarcastic tone that yes he needs to get over it and she asks him then why is he taking it so hard. This is Hamlet’s response.Translation: It is not my black clothes, or my heavy sighs, or weeping, nor sad eyes, nor other signs of grief that can express the sadness that I do have. These things can all be faked. But my grief is real. My grief is deeper than what appears on the surface. These clothes are just a hint of my grief.
“We’ll teach you to drink deep ere you depart” (Act I, Scene ii). Hamlet to Horatio- making fun of Denmark’s drinking culture
“O most pernicious woman! O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain! My tables!—Meet it is I set it down That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain. At least I’m sure it may be so in Denmark.” (1.5.105) HAMLET speaking about his mother, Gertrude, Queen of Denmark, after speaking to his father’s ghost. Hamlet’s emotions towards his mother’s lack grief; but more so, her adulterous relationship with his uncle who killed the King, his father. Spoken just after Prince Hamlet spoke with his father’s ghost.
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (1.4.90). MARCELLUS Hamlet just went to talk with the ghost and his friends are worried, then they decide to follow him There is something corrupt happening in Denmark (hinting to Claudius situation)
“Give it understanding, but no tongue” (1.2.249). HAMLET- talking to Horatio, Marcellus, and Bernardo about getting ghost to talkHoratio, Marcellus, and Bernardo just told Hamlet that they saw his father’s ghost and Hamlet tells him that he will meet with them later that night to try to get the ghost to talk but he warns them that if the ghost does come & speak they must keep it a secret.
“Do not, as some ungracious pastors do, Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven, Whiles, like a puffed and reckless libertine, Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,Ad recks not his own rede” (1.3.48). OPHELIA- talking to LaertesAfter Laertes gives her advice on staying modest, Ophelia calls him out on his sinful behaviour. (Don’t be like the bad priest who does not follow his homily)
“It is not nor it cannot come to good;But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue” (1.1.158). HAMLET- soliloquy- about marriage (Gertrude and Claudius) Basically says that no good will come out of the marriage between his mother and his uncle and he is sad about it but he cannot speak that sadness aloud.

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