Hamlet Quotes

“With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage” Claudius to QUEEN GERTRUDE, HAMLET, POLONIUS, LAERTES, VOLTIMAND, CORNELIUS, Lords, and Attendants
“[Aside] A little more than kin, and less than kind.” Hamlet about Claudius marrying his mother
” ’tis unmanly grief” Claudius to Hamlet about him grieving for his father.
“So excellent a king; that was, to this,Hyperion to a satyr” Hamlet soliloquy. Compares Claudius to a satyr, a goat-like, lustful creature, and his father to Hyperion, the handsome sun god.
“Frailty, thy name is woman!” Hamlet soliloquy. About his mother marrying Claudius. Hamlet wants to stay away from women now.
“A little month, or ere those shoes were oldWith which she follow’d my poor father’s body,Like Niobe, all tears:–why she, even she–O, God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,Would have mourn’d longer–married with my uncle,” Hamlet. Mythological Allusion: Niobe had 10 wonderful, strong, beautiful children. Apollo was jealous because she was bragging about them. He kills them. She cries a ton. Zeus turns her into a granite mountain to relieve her pain, but she still cries. This was similar to Queen Gertrude after the King’s death, but not for long.
“He may not, as unvalued persons do,Carve for himself; for on his choice dependsThe safety and health of this whole state” Laertes to Ophelia about Hamlet. He says Hamlet cannot marry whom he pleases because he is the Prince of Denmark.
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be””This above all: to thine ownself be true” Polonius to Laertes. Advice before he departs for France again.
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” Marcellus to Horatio. After Hamlet follows the Ghost to talk with him.
“Won to his shameful lustThe will of my most seeming-virtuous queen” Ghost to Hamlet. Is the Queen guilty? You decide.
“Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother’s handOf life, of crown, of queen, at once dispatch’d:Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin” Ghost to Hamlet. He’s in purgatory because he didn’t get the chance to confess his sins before death.
“Leave her to heavenAnd to those thorns that in her bosom lodge,To prick and sting her.” Ghost to Hamlet. Let the Queen’s punishment be her guilty conscience.
“Adieu, adieu, adieu! Remember me.” Ghost to Hamlet. Make sure you avenge me, seriously.
“O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!””That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain” Hamlet soliloquy. Stupid Claudius! After talking with the ghost.
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Hamlet to Horatio. The ghost was real, and there is some crazy crap in the afterlife.
“(As I perchance hereafter shall think meetTo put an antic disposition on)” Hamlet to Horatio and Marcellus. I’m going to act crazy so no one will suspect my plan.
“By indirections find directions out” Polonius to Reynaldo. Find out exactly what Laertes is doing in France.
“Brevity is the soul of wit” Polonius to King and Queen. Polonius is never brief.
“Words, words, words.” Hamlet to Polonius. Ironic because Hamlet never does anything but talk.
“[Aside] Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.” Polonius about Hamlet. There’s a method to his madness- he figured it out!
“What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me,what is this quintessence of dust?” Hamlet to Horatio, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern. Hamlet’s existential crisis. Why should I even do anything?
“I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind issoutherly I know a hawk from a handsaw.” Hamlet to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. I’m not actually crazy, just bear with the plan.
“Let them be well used; for they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the time” Hamlet to Polonius about the Actors. This is how people really learn history–through plays.
“The Murder of Gonzago” The name of the play that Hamlet alters.
“The play’s the thingWherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.” Hamlet soliloquy. I’ll watch the King during the play for signs of guilt.
“The harlot’s cheek, beautied with plastering art,Is not more ugly to the thing that helps itThan is my deed to my most painted word” Claudius aside. He’s feeling guilty about his lies and his crime.
“But that the dread of something after death,The undiscover’d country from whose bournNo traveller returns, puzzles the will” Hamlet soliloquy. I won’t kill myself because I’m scared of what’s on the other side.
“Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be abreeder of sinners?” Hamlet to Ophelia. Distrusts women now. Might love Ophelia, saying stay safe and away, but nunnery also means brothel. Says all men are evil.
“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Queen Gertrude to Hamlet. Queen in play is saying she’ll never marry again, her love is so strong. Gertrude says she’s being melodramatic.
“The Mousetrap” What Hamlet calls the play (catching the King in his trap).
“I will speak daggers to her, but use none” Hamlet soliloquy about Queen. He’s going to go talk to her.
“Never alone did the king sigh, but with a general groan.” Rosencrantz to King Claudius. We’ll do whatever you want because you’re the King and the country is behind you.
“O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven;It hath the primal eldest curse upon’t,A brother’s murder.” King Claudius soliloquy. Oh my gosh, I feel super guilty. Cain and Able.
“Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven,And that his soul may be as damn’d and blackAs hell, whereto it goes.” Hamlet about Claudius. I won’t kill him while he’s praying. I’ll kill him while he’s sinning so he’ll go to hell where he belongs.
“These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears” Queen Gertrude to Hamlet. Pls stahp.
“I must be cruel, only to be kind” Hamlet to Queen. It seems like I’ve been cruel, but I have only the best intentions.
“There’s letters seal’d: and my two schoolfellows,Whom I will trust as I will adders fang’d” Hamlet to Queen on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Those very untrustworthy fellows have orders to see me killed in England.
QUEEN GERTRUDEHamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.HAMLETMother, you have my father much offended.QUEEN GERTRUDECome, come, you answer with an idle tongue.HAMLETGo, go, you question with a wicked tongue. Stichomythia — quick exchange of dialogue.
“A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of aking, and cat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.” Hamlet to King Claudius. You are no better than anyone else. While being questioned as to where Polonius’s body is.
“Rightly to be greatIs not to stir without great argument,But greatly to find quarrel in a strawWhen honour’s at the stake.” Hamlet soliloquy. I’m going to quit talking and start doing! Before being sent to England.
“He is dead and gone, lady,He is dead and gone;At his head a grass-green turf,At his heels a stone.” Ophelia singing to Queen Gertrude. Lamenting the inappropriate burial of her father.
“When sorrows come, they come not single spiesBut in battalions.” King Claudius to Queen Gertrude. Everything bad is happening at once! Ophelia gone mad.
“She’s so conjunctive to my life and soul,That, as the star moves not but in his sphere,I could not but by her.” King Claudius to Laertes about Gertrude and Hamlet. He loves her so much, and she loves Hamlet. Dilema.
“That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;There with fantastic garlands did she comeOf crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purplesThat liberal shepherds give a grosser name,But our cold maids do dead men’s fingers call them” Queen Gertrude to Laertes on Ophelia’s drowning.These flowers, along with rue, are put together to form a concoction to abort babies. Suggests Ophelia might have been pregnant, driven mad when Hamlet turned his back on her.
“Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio” Hamlet to Horatio. Yorick was the King’s jester when Hamlet was a child.
“Lay her i’ the earth:And from her fair and unpolluted fleshMay violets spring!” Laertes to Priest. Priest didn’t want Ophelia buried on holy ground because she committed suicide. Laertes stood up for her. Violets are the first flower of spring and have a very short life.
“I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet’s wife;I thought thy bride-bed to have deck’d, sweet maid,And not have strew’d thy grave.” Queen Gertrude to dead Ophelia. Ophelia rejected Hamlet because Polonius said he couldn’t marry her, but the Queen says she wishes Ophelia would have. So it was all for nothing, and Hamlet is mad.
“I loved Ophelia: forty thousand brothersCould not, with all their quantity of love,Make up my sum.” Hamlet to Laertes. Hamlet really loved her!
“He that hath kill’d my king and whored my mother,Popp’d in between the election and my hopes” Hamlet to Horatio. I think it’s time I kill the idiot. Shortly after Ophelia’s funeral.
“If it be now,’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will benow; if it be not now, yet it will come: thereadiness is all” Hamlet to Horatio. I don’t have a plan to kill the King. When it happens, it happens.
“I am more an antique Roman than a Dane:Here’s yet some liquor left.” Horatio to Hamlet. The Romans used to kill themselves when they lost a battle. Hamlet is dying, and Horatio wants to kill himself.
“Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince:And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!” Horatio to dead Hamlet.
Flower: Rue Given to Claudius, the murder of her ex-suitor’s father. Rue is symbolic of bitterness, regret, and repentance.
Flowers: Columbine and Fennel Given to Gertrude, a faithless wife who caused her son to look upon all women with bitterness. Columbine and Fennel are symbolic of ingratitude and flattery; both are associated with faithless lovers.
Flower: Rosemary Given to Laertes, her loving brother. Rosemary is symbolic of remembrance.
Flower: Daisies Symbol of innocence, associated with Ophelia. (“I would have given you daises, but they withered all when my father died.”)
Flower: Violets Violets are the first flower of spring and have a very short life. At beginning of play, Laertes speaks of Hamlet’s love for Ophelia as a “violet in the youth of primy nature.”
Symbol: Willow Tree The Willow tree is a traditional symbol of death in literature. Ophelia attempts to hang her coronet of flowers upon a willow branch, and the branch breaks.
Historical Influence In December of 1579, the body of a woman named Katherine Hamlett was found floating in a river near Stratford-upon-Avon. Shakespeare was 15 years old at the time. The town debated whether or not it was an accident or suicide. Suicides were not allowed to be buried in holy ground. It was rumored she had been jilted by her lover. Perhaps Shakespeare was influenced by this memory when writing Ophelia’s mad and death scenes.

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