Hamlet and RT quotes and critics

Foreboding statements made by characters which indicate coming doom for Denmark and that the play will be a tragedy HAMLET’It is not nor it cannot come to good’ – Hamlet (in too too solid, about his mother/claudius’ marriage)MARCELLUS’Something is rotten in the state of Denmark’ HORATIO’This bodes some strange eruption to our state’
Demonstrates Hamlet’s death wish/thanatos ‘O, that this too too solid flesh would melt, / Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!’ (1.2)’that the Everlasting had not fix’d / His cannon ‘gainst self-slaughter’ (1.2)’To be, or not to be: that is the question’ (3.1)’To die, to sleep – / No more’ (3.1)’who would bear the whips and scorns of time… When he himself might his quietus make’ (3.1)
HAMLET – HUMAN NATURE HAMLET’virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it’ (since we’re all rotten at the core, no matter how hard we try to be virtuous)
BODY POLITIC GHOST’courses throughThe natural gates and alleys of the body’ (the King is described like a city)CLAUDIUS’it us befitted / To bear our heart’s in grief, and our whole kingdom, / To be contracted in one brow of woe’ROSENCRANTZ (about claudius)’That spirit upon whose weal depends and restsThe lives of many’
Acting, deceit, lies, pretence HAMLET’to hold… the mirror up to nature””Seems”, madam? Nay it is; I know not seems.”Could force his soul so to his own conceit…and all for nothing!”there is a kind of confession in your looks which your modesties have not craft enough to color’ (about R&G)CLAUDIUS’My words fly up, my thoughts remain below.Words without thoughts never to heaven go.’ (inauthentic grief, false confession)
IMAGERY – Hamlet EAR’Let us once again assail your ears”So the whole ear of Denmark Is … Rankly abused.’DISEASE’My wit’s diseased’HAMLET’This is th’ impostume of much wealth and peace,That inward breaks and shows no cause withoutWhy the man dies.’ (quarrels between countries with too much money and peace are like an abcess that grows inside someone until it bursts and kills them, and no one knows why.)ANIMALWhat is a man…? A beast, no more.’ Hamlet’whether it beBestial oblivion…—I do not knowWhy yet I live to say “This thing’s to do”‘ Hamlet
Demonstrates Hamlet’s (and vindice’s) careless attitude towards death ‘How now, a rat? Dead for a ducat, dead!’ (3.4)’I’ll lug the guts into the neighbour room’ (3.4)’I will gain nothing but my shame and the odd hits’ (5.2)’When the bad bleeds, then the tragedy is good’ Vindice
Claudius’ attitude to mourning POLITICAL VOICE’Our dear brother’s death / The memory be green, and that it us befitted / To bear our heart’s in grief, and our whole kingdom, / To be contracted in one brow of woe’ (1.2)’With mirth in funeral and dirge in marriage, / In equal scale weighing delight and dole’ (1.2)(Hamlet’s mourning is) ‘a fault to heaven, A fault against the dead, a fault to nature’ (1.2)(“) ‘ ’tis unmanly grief’ (1.2)PERSONAL VOICE’Pray can I not.Though inclination be as sharp as will,My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent,
Gertrude’s attitude to mourning (according to Hamlet:) ‘a beast that wants discourse of reason / Would have mourned longer’ (1.2)’Like Niobe, all tears’ … (but he believes these are:) ‘unrighteous tears’ (1.1)
Hamlet’s attitude to mourning/his grief ”my inky cloak”Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief, / That can denote me truly’He does not only display the physical signs of mourning: ‘customary suits of solemn black’ or ‘the fruitful river in the eye’ BUT:(he has) ‘that within which passeth show’
Hamlet’s negative view of the world/Denmark ‘this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory’ (2.2)’it appeareth no other thing to me than a foul congregation of pestilent vapours’ (2.2)’weary, stale, flat and unprofitable, / Seem to me all the uses of this world’ (2.2)’ ’tis an unweeded garden, / That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature / Posses it merely’ (1.2)’And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?'(2.2)’Man delights not in me’ (2.2)
HAMLET – honour HAMLET’Rightly to be greatIs not to stir without great argument,But greatly to find quarrel in a strawWhen honor’s at the stake.’ (To be truly great doesn’t mean you’d only fight for a good reason. It means you’d fight over nothing if your honor was at stake. )
Excessive thought and words (rather than actions) – inability to avenge HAMLET’Thus conscience does make cowards of us all (3.1)’there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so’ (2.2)(he is often lost in) ‘thought which, quartered, hath but one part wisdom / And ever three parts coward’ (3.1)’What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba?’ (a chiasmus to show how hamlet is conflicted about his revenge and inability to take action)
Excessive thought and words (rather than actions) – inability to avenge GHOST’This visitationIs but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.’HAMLET’What would he do, Had he the motive and cue for passionThat I have?”I… prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell, / Must, like a wh*re, unpack my heart with words’ (2.2)
Anger at the speed of her marriage ‘O, most wicked speed, to post/ With such dexterity to incestuous sheets'(before) ‘the salt of most unrighteous tears / Had left the flushing in her galled eyes, / She married”The funeral back’d meats/ Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables’
Hamlet on Claudius + Gertrude’s relationship (she lives in) ‘the rank sweat of an enseamed bed,Stew’d in corruption”rank corruption… / Infects unseen”O, most wicked speed! To post,With such dexterity to incestuous sheets’
Conflict – Vindice’s attitude towards his mother ‘Wicked, unnatural parent”Thou dost usurp that title now by fraud, / For in that shell of mother breeds a baud’
Conflict – Hamlet’s attitude towards Ophelia (changes throughout the play) ‘never doubt I love’ (2.2)’I loved you once… You should not have believed me… I loved you not’ (3.1)’Forty thousand brothers / Could not with all their quantity of love / Make up my sum’ (5.1)
Madness- Hamlet ‘put an antic disposition on”I essentially am not in madness, but mad in craft”I am but mad north-north-west.’
Madness- Claudius ‘turbulent and dangerous lunacy”Madness in great ones ust not unwatch’d go”Oh, this is the poison of deep grief. It springsAll from her father’s death”Poor OpheliaDivided from herself and her fair judgment,Without the which we are pictures, or mere beasts.’
Madness- Gertrude ‘This is the very coinage of your brain’
Madness- Ophelia “Now see that noble and most sovereign reason/Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh”.’Young men will do’t, if they come to’t,By cock, they are to blame”Before you tumbled meYou promised me to wed’
Madness- Ophelia ‘this is the very ecstasy of love”Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t’
Theme of Chastity ‘Weigh what loss your honour may sustain if… your chaste treasure open / To his unmastered importunity.Fear it, Ophelia. Fear it’ Lae to Oph 1.3)’Virtue itself ‘scapes not calumnious strokes’ (“)’in the morn and liquid dew of youth, / Contagious blastements are most imminent’ (“) (eg young girls are more susceptible to corruption)’Set your entreatments at a higher rate / Than a command to parley’ (eg make yourself a precious commodity) (Polo to Oph 1.3) CRITIC: A Godly Form of Household Governement: a woman’s virginity is ‘the best portion, the greatest inheritance, and the most precious jewel’
Revenger’s Tragedy – Chastity/sexual purity ‘my honor shall have a rich name’ – Castiza’thou art approved forever in my thoughts’ – Vindice (because Castiza was unwilling to be prostituted)’Virginity is paradise locked up. / You cannot come by yourselves without fee, / And ’twas decreed that man should keep the key’ Gratiana’Thou’d’st wish thyself unborn when thou art unchaste”Violent rape / Has played a glorious act’ (her rape and consequential suicide demonstrated to everyone the extent of her commitment to purity, honor and dignity)’Her funeral shall be wealthy, for her name / Merits a tomb of pearl’ (because Antonio’s wife preserved her dignity by committing suicide she gets a glorious funeral) – contrasting to Ophelia’s ‘maimed rites’ at her funeral due to suspected suicide.
Restrictions for women (about Hamlet) ‘with a larger tether may he walk / Than may be given you’ (Polo to Oph 1.3)’I do not know, my lord, what I should think’ (Oph to Polo 1.3)’Thou turn’st my eyes into my very soul; / And there I see such black and grained spots’ (Gertrude 3.4)OPHELIADo not…’Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,Whiles, like a puffed and reckless libertine,Himself the primrose path of dalliance treadsAnd recks not his own rede’ (men are allowed to follow careless pleasure and thus L’s comments about remaining chaste are hypocritical)GHOST’O, step between her and her fighting soul.Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.’ (spiritual restriction of women)
RT – restrictions for women ‘no other child’s-part but her honor’ (girl’s do not get an inheritance – fully reliant on their reputation/dignity)’Take this infectious spot out of my soul’ – Gratiana (repentance of women is procured by men, reliant for spiritual guidance)
The impossibility of fulfilling the three virtues ‘the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness’ (Ham to Oph 3.1)’for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it’ (eg we are all rotten at the core no matter how hard we try to be virtuous) (“)’Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny’ (“) (this expectation, but impossibility, of the ‘three virtues’ is because of patriarchal oppression: ‘Yound men will do’t, if they come to’t. / By cock, they are to blame’ (Oph 4.5)
Revenger’s Tragedy – impossibility of the three virtues ‘The old duke poisoned, / Because thy purer part would not consent / Unto his palsy-lust”Mellus virtute mori, quam per dedecus vivere’ (better to die virtuous than live dishonored) -Antonio(Antonio’s wife) ‘lived / As cold in lust as she is now in death'(Antonio’s wife) ‘Deemed it a nobler dowry for her name, / To die with poison than to live with shame’ -Antonio’Thou dost usurp that title now by fraud / For in that shell of mother now breeds a baud'(Female vengence):’Wedlock faith shall be forgot, / I’ll kill him in his forehead… That wound is deepest though it never bleed’
Hamlet’s view of women ‘O most pernicious woman!’ (1.5)’frailty thy name is woman’ (1.2)’a beast that wants discourse of reason / Would have mourned longer’ (1.2)’marry a fool, for wise men know what monsters you make of them’ (eg all women are adulterous) (3.1)’God has given you one face and you make yourselves another'(embodied by the Duchess in RT: ‘Wedlock faith shall be forgot’)CRITIC: Renaissance Protestant leader John Knox – “Woman in her greatest perfection was to serve and obey man”
Revenger’s tragedy – Stereotypes of women – deceptive and mentally pliable, or a seductress VINDICE’A face / So far beyond the artificial shine, / Of any women’s bought complexion’ ‘their sex is easy in belief’ ‘ladies, with false forms / You deceive men but cannot deceive worms”Were’t it not for gold and women there would be no damnation’ (identifying women/money as the root of all sins)GRATIANA’It is too strong for me. Men know, that know us, / We are so weak their words overcome us’.
Revenger’s tragedy – role/purpose of women VINDICE’Wives are but made to go to bed and feed”Thou dost usurp that title now by fraud / For in that shell of mother now breeds a baud’YOUNGEST SON’Why flesh and blood my lord: / What should move men unto women else?’
Hamlet – POLITICALpower, hierarchy, monarchy etc HAMLET’We fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots. Your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service—two dishes, but to one table. ”a king may go a progress through the guts of a beggar.”This is th’ impostume of much wealth and peace,That inward breaks and shows no cause withoutWhy the man dies.’ (quarrels between countries with too much money and peace are like an abcess that grows inside someone until it bursts and kills them, and no one knows why.)
Hamlet – POLITICALpower, hierarchy, monarchy etc LAERTES’Perhaps he loves you now, …/ …his will is not his own, For he himself is subject to his birth”for on his choice dependsThe safety and health of this whole state. And therefore must his choice be circumscribedUnto the voice and yielding of that bodyWhereof he is the head.’CLAUDIUS’There’s such divinity doth hedge a king’ (eg God protects the king) -chain of being
RT – POLITICALpower, hierarchy, class, monarchy VINDICE play’s opening links the ducal family with sin and corruption: ‘Duke: royal lecher’, ‘bastard true-begot in evil’, ‘duchess that will do with devil”villainous dukedom vexed with sin”the mortal curse of the earth, shall be revenged / In the like strain and kiss his lips to death’ (gloriana’s murder is equated to the original sin affecting all of humanity = the Duke’s actions have an affect on the whole duchy)’in the hands of knaves / A slavish duke is baser than his slaves’ (stripped of his authority, he is on the same level as his lessers)Ambitioso’A duke’s soft hand strokes the rough head of law.’
HAMLET Religion HAMLET’his soul may be as damn’d and black / As hell’ (wanting to kill Claudius whilst ‘in sin’)’thou incentuous, murd’rous, damned Dane”Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet.”But that the dread of something after death– The undiscovered country, from whose bourn No traveller returns– puzzles the will, and makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of? Thus conscience does make cowards of us all”And so he goes to heaven, and so am I revenged?”May be the devil, and the devil hath powerT’ assume a pleasing shape. Yea, and perhapsOut of my weakness and my melancholy,As he is very potent with such spirits,Abuses me to damn me.’CLAUDIUSOh, my offence is rank. It smells to heaven.It hath the primal eldest curse upon ‘t,A brother’s murder.
HAMLET Religion HORATIO’A mote it is to trouble the mind’s eye.’ – the ghost is compared to an irritation, something which is disturbing or troubling them (spiritually)GHOST’I am thy father’s spirit, Doom for a certain term to walk the night, …/Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature/ Are burnt and purged away.”The serpent that did sting thy father’s life / Now wears his crown
RT – Religion…frequently linked to revenge and restoring balance VINDICEplay’s opening links the ducal family with sin and corruption: ‘Duke: royal lecher’, ‘bastard true-begot in evil’, ‘duchess that will do with devil’ ‘villainous dukedom vexed with sin”Were’t it not for gold and women there would be no damnation’ (identifying women/money as the root of all sins)DUKE’My hairs are white and yet my sins are green’ (his age has not prevented him from committing fresh/recent sin)’For that which would seem treason in our lives/ is laughter when we’re dead’ ‘Oh take me not in sleep,/I have great sins, I must have days/Nay months, dear son, with penitential heavens’
RT – Religion…frequently linked to revenge and restoring balance LINKED TO REVENGE:DUCHESS(about Spurio) ‘to live a bastard, / The curse ‘o the womb, the thief of Nature”Begot against the seventh commandment’ ‘Half damned in the conception by the justice / Of that unbribed everlasting law’ (tempting Spurio to revenge by extrapolating about the extent of his innate sin)’Who would not be avenged of such a father, / E’en in the worst way? I would thank that sin / That could most injury him, and be in league with it’. – to Spurio (tempting him to sleep with her as the cruelest act of revenge)
RT – Religion…frequently linked to revenge and restoring balance SPURIO’The sin of feasts, drunken adultery. / I feel it swell me; my revenge is just’ – Spurio (thinking about how he was conceived stirs him onto realise his revenge is justified)’Duke, thou did’st do me wrong and by thy act / Adultery is my nature’ – SpurioSuicide:’Rape hath played a glorious act”merits a tomb of pearl’
Hamlet Revenge LAERTES’The drop of blood that’s calm proclaims me a bastard’.’It warms the very sickness in my heartThat I shall live and tell him to his teeth”Thus didest thou”‘. (You killed my father in the same way that I am killing you)HAMLET ‘I will speak daggers to her, but use none.My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites’ (He will avenge her psychologically through words, as he knows he would never actually carry out what he says)
RT – Revenge SPURIOAdultery is my nature’ (reason for his revenge)’my revenge is just’ (matching the sexual revenge to the sexual sin)’Duke on thy brow I’ll draw my bastardy”So deadly do I loathe him for my birth / That … I would add murder to adultery / And with my sword give up his years to death’HIPPOLITO*’Here let your oaths meet, to be kept and paid / Which else will stick like rust and shame the blade’
RT – Revenge DUCHESS ‘to live a bastard, / The curse ‘o the womb, the thief of Nature, / Begot against the seventh commandment / Half damned in the conception by the justice / Of that unbribed everlasting law’ (tempting Spurio to revenge by extrapolating about the extent of his innate sin)’my vengeance shall reach high, I’ll arm thy brow with woman’s heraldry’ – Duchess (as a woman the only possible act of revenge will be to affect his reputation – proverbially giving him cuckolds, define his coat of arms by her sexual promiscuity)
RT – Revenge VINDICE’Vengence, thou murder’s quit-rent, (revenge is ‘justified’ as a means of restoring balance’the mortal curse of the earth, shall be revenged / In the like strain and kiss his lips to death’ (matching punishment to crime)’When the bad bleeds then the tragedy is good’ (perfect antithesis/parallelism – balanced phrasing revenge brings balance) Will make the murderer bring forth himself’ (said about the Duke but ironically applies to him too – shows the futility of revenge?)
Hamlet – guilt, confession etc CLAUDIUS’Pray can I not, / Though inclination be as sharp as will.”Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens, / To wash it as white as snow?”O, what form of prayer can serve my turn?’
RT – guilt, confession etc GRATIANA’Forgive me, to myself I’ll prove more true;You that should honour me, I kneel to you’
Hamlet’s death ‘If thou didst ever hold me in thy heartAbsent thee from felicity a while,And in this harsh world draw thy breath in painTo tell my story.”The rest is silence’.
Vindice’s death ‘I’ faith we’re well – our mother turned, our sister true,We die after a nest of dukes! Adieu.’

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