Hamlet Quotes

“Frailty, thy name is woman!” (Act I, Scene II). Hamlet about Gertrude. Possible Feminist connotations.
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.” (Act I, Scene III). Polonius to Laertes. Loaning money is dangerous; husband qualities.
“This above all: to thine own self be true.” (Act I, Scene III). Polonius is Laertes. Telling him to “be himself.”
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” (Act I, Scene IV). Marcellus to Horatio, while they’re following Hamlet. Refers to the political side of the play.
“Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.” (Act II, Scene II). Polonius to the audience during a discussion with Hamlet. Refers to the madness theme.
To be, or not to be: that is the question:Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to sufferThe slings and arrows of outrageous fortuneOr to take arms against a sea of troubles,And by opposing end them?—To die,—to sleep,— No more; and by a sleep to say we endThe heartache, and the thousand natural shocksThat flesh is heir to,—’tis a consummationDevoutly to be wish’d. (Act III, Scene I). Hamlet soliloquy. Hamlet muses suicide. Refers to the theme of death.
“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” (Act III, Scene II). Gertrude about The Mousetrap play, referring to the Queen of the play stating that she will never remarry after the death of her husband. Infidelity.
“What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! 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?” (Act II, scene II). Hamlet to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern about his own melancholic state. Grief. Death. Talks about dust.
“Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit, and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes? I will be brief. Your noble son is mad.” (Act II, Scene II). Polonius to Claudius and Gertrude about Hamlet. Now become an English proverb.
“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… do you think I am easier to be played upon than a pipe?” (Act III, Scene II). Hamlet to Guildenstern. Using the metaphor of playing a pipe.
“Forgive me my foul murder? That cannot be since I am still possessed. Of those effects for which I did the murder, My crown, mine own ambition, and my Queen. May one be pardoned and retain th’offense.” (Act III, Scene III). Claudius while praying. Religion. Confession.
“O! from this time forth, My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!” (Act IV, scene IV). Hamlet vowing to himself that from this moment forth he is committed to killing the king.
“Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is earth, of earth we make loam, and why of that loam whereto he was converted might they not stop a beer barrel?” (Act IV, Scene I). Hamlet coming to terms with the lack of life after death. Alexander.
“Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy; he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now how abhorred in my imagination it is–my gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? Your gambols, your songs, your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar?” (Act V, scene I). Hamlet. Yorick.

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