Hamlet Quotes and History

Horatio says ’tis but our fantasy, And will not let belief take hold of himTouching this dreaded sight, twice seen of us. Therefore I have entreated him alongWith us to watch the minutes of this night, That if again this apparition come He may approve our eyes and speak to it Marcellus to Bernardo and Horatio The guards repeat Horatio and want him to confirm the existence of the ghost.
Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen, The imperial jointers to this warlike state,Have we, as ‘there with a defeated joy,With an auspicious, and a dropping eye,With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriageIn equal scale weighing delight with dole, Taken to wife. Claudius to HamletClaudius claims to be torn between joy and despair over his brother’s death and his soon after marriage to Gertrude. This shows his manipulation and how he says what he thinks would be beneficial
A little more than kin and less than kind Hamlet as an asideHamlet claims he is much too related to Claudius and finds him suspicious.
But to persevere In obstinate condolement is a courseOf impious stubbornness. ‘Tis unmanly grief. Claudius to Hamlet and GertrudeHamlet needs to get over his father’s death bc grieving is unmanly in his eyes.
We pray you throw to earth This unprevailing woe, and think of usAs of a father; for let the world take noteYou are the most immediate to our throne,And with no less nobility of loveThan that which dearest father bears his sonDo I import towards you Claudius to HamletClaudius is “offended” by Hamlet’s unwillingness to welcome him as King and claims to view Hamlet as a son.
O that this too solid solid flesh would meltThaw, and resolve itself into a dew!Or that the Everlasting had not fixedHis cannon ‘gainst self-slaughter!…Frailty thy name is woman…But break my heart for I must hold my tongue! Hamlet’s Soliloquy #1He wants to kill himself but won’t because that would be a sin. He is mad at his mother the most and cannot act because it would be taken as treason.
Thrift, thrift, Horatio. The funeral baked meatsDid coldly furnish forth the marriage tables Hamlet to Horatio Hamlet is mocking the fact that his mother married his uncle so closely to his father’s death.
Foul deeds will rise,Though all the earth o’erwhelm them, to men’s eyes. Hamlet as an asideThe truth will come out.
…but this you must fear, His greatness weighted, his will is not his own,For he himself is subject to his birth Laertes to OpheliaHamlet may love Ophelia, but he will never be able to choose her because of his royal duty to marry a woman beneficial to the kingdom.
Keep you in the rear of your affection,Out of the shot and danger of desire. The chariest maid is prodigal enoughIf she unmask her beauty to the moon.Virtue itself ‘scares not calumnious strokes. Laertes to OpheliaOphelia must stay far away from Hamlet for even the slightest slip up may cause her to lose her virtue.
Give every man thine ear but few thy voice Polonius to Ophelia Be careful what you say, but be generous with your listening
Costly thy habit as they purse can buyBut not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy;For the apparel oft proclaims the main. Polonius to OpheliaSpend all of your money on quality clothing. Show your wealth without being flashy.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be Polonius to OpheliaDon’t borrow or lend money for you must be self-sufficient
This above all; to thine own self be true Polonius to OpheliaMost importantly, be true to yourself
Do not believe his vows; for they are brokers, Not of that dye which their investments show, But mere implorators of unholy suits, Breathing like sanctified and pious bonds, The better to beguile. Polonius to OpheliaHamlet does not love you. He is only sweet talking you to get your love and will give you none in return
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark Marcellus to HoratioSomething is fishy
Doomed for a certain term to walk the night,And for the day confined to fast in fires,Till the foul crimes done in my days of natureAre burnt and purged away Ghost to HamletGhost is explaining how he is able to walk in the earthly realm due to his murder and currently being in purgatory
O my prophetic soul1 Hamlet to GhostHamlet know something was up with his uncle and his dad’s death
Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts–O wicked wit and gifts, that have the powerSo to seduce!–won to his shameful lust The will of my most seeming virtuous queen. Ghost to HamletThe queen is good, only spoiled by Claudius through adultery and incest.
Let not the royal bed of Denmark beA couch for luxury and damned incest.But, howsoever thou pursuest this act, Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contriveAgainst thy mother aught. Leave her to heaven. Ghost to HamletDo not blame your mother, for Heaven will take care of her
O all you host of heaven! O earth! what else?And shall I couple hell? O, fie! Hold, hold, me heart! Hamlet’s Soliloquy #2Hamlet declares that anything he knew or cared about before his father’s murder is gone, replaced with the will of his father for revenge.
The time is out of joint. O cursed spiteThat ever I was born to set it right! Hamlet to GhostHamlet is invigorated and passionately ready to take revenge.
Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth;And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,With windlasses and assays of bias,By indirections find directions out. Polonius to Reynaldo (his servant)Polonius is sending Reynaldo to sneakily find out what Laertes is up to in Paris. Your lies will bring out the truth.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of witAnd tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,I will be brief Polonius to the QueenBefore explaining that Hamlet is mad because of his love for Ophelia, Polonius claims he is intelligent enough to be brief (ironic).
You are a fishmonger Hamlet to PoloniusHamlet knows Polonius is just fishing for info and accusing him of pimping out Ophelia.
Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t. Polonius as an asideHe realizes that Hamlet has a plan and a purpose underneath his crazed exterior.
O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams Hamlet to Rosencrantz & GuildensternHe could be king of everything or nothing and none of it would matter because he still feels an immense pain.
What a piece of work is a 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 animal!And yet to me what is the quintessence of dust! Hamlet to Rosencrantz & GuildensternHamlet is being sarcastic regarding the wonder of man. Any greatness we have means nothing because we all turn to dust in the end.
Now I am alone. O what a rogue and peasant slave am I!…The spirit that I have seenMay be a 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. I’ll have groundsMore relative than this. The play’s the thingWherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king. Hamlet’s Soliloquy #3Hamlet is jealous of how the actor has all this passion for fiction to bring him to tears, while Hamlet does not have enough to do what needs to be done in real life. Finally, Hamlet decides to put on a play mimicking his father’s murder in order to bring out the truth from Claudius.
The harlot’s cheek, beautied with plastering artIs not more ugly to the thing that helps it Than is my deed to my most painted word. O heavy burden Claudius as an asideJust like an harlot who disguises herself with makeup yet is still truly ugly, I am covering up my ugly intentions with the guise of helping Hamlet.
To be, or not to be, that is the question… Hamlet’s Soliloquy #4Hamlet is again contemplating suicide, trying to decide whether it is nobler to live in pain or to end life’s suffering through death. He settles that he is only too cowardly to do it.
Get thee to a nunnery! Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? Hamlet to OpheliaIn the encounter arranged by Polonius and the King, Hamlet tells Ophelia she must go to a convent and never have children, for why would she want to bring another person into this cursed world
O, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown Ophelia as an asideAfter her arranged meeting with Hamlet, she mourns the loss of his great mind, deciding that he is truly mad
Give me that manThat is not passion’s slave Hamlet to HoratioClaudius and Gertrude agree to go see Hamlet’s play, and then Hamlet tells Horatio that he is the best man he knows. He is levelheaded and does not let his emotions interfere with his judgement.
The lady doth protest too much, methinks. Gertrude to HamletShe is talking about the queen in Hamlet’s play bc she is continuously promising not to remarry if her husband dies.
You would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops; you would pluck out the heart of my mystery Hamlet to Guildenstern and RosencrantzGuildenstern says he cannot play the recorder, and this enrages Hamlet because, still, the pair plays him.
‘Tis now the very witching time of night Hamlet’s Soliloquy #5 Right after Claudius storms out of the play, Hamlet is manic with confirmation of the justice in his revenge. He says he wishes to kill his mother but will instead speak daggers to her.
Most holy and religious fear it isTo keep the many many bodies safeThat live and feed upon your majesty Guildenstern to ClaudiusGuildenstern is rationalizing his decision to betray Hamlet and help the King to send Hamlet to England. For it is better to say the kingdom than the life of one
O, my office is rank, it smells to heaven. It hath the primal eldest curse upon’t, A brother’s murder! Claudius as an asideSaid after the play when he is praying and decides he cannot be absolved from his sins, Claudius references Cain and Abel as the weight of the murder is finally falling upon his shoulders
Oh wretched state. O bosom black as death!O limed soul, that struggling to be free,are more engaged. Claudius as an asideSaid after the play when he is praying, Claudius realizes there is no positive way out of his situation. He wants to repent but cannot because he is still reaping the benefits of his murder.
Now might I do it pat not he is praying…Why this is hire and salary, not revenge!… Hamlet’s Soliloquy #6After the play, Hamlet finds Claudius praying and thinks to kill him now but decides this would be too generous, seeing as he would go to heaven.
My words fly up, my thoughts remain below,Words without thoughts never to heaven go. Claudius as an asideAlthough he prays, Claudius refuses to repent and will, therefore, not go to heaven
Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell! I took thee for thy better. Hamlet to PoloniusAfter he kills Polonius, Hamlet is frustrated when he realizes it is not the king but feels little remorse.
You cannot call it love, for at your ageThe heyday in the blood is tame…O shame! Where is thy blush? Hamlet to GertrudeAfter killing Polonius, Hamlet lectures Gertrude about how she is too old to love so that’s surely not the reason she married Claudius and continues to compare Claudius as a mildewed ear and Hamlet Senior as a god.
Confess yourself to heavenRepent what’s past; avoid what is to come. And do not spread the compost on the weedsTo make them ranker. Hamlet to GertrudeIn his lecture in the queen’s closet, Hamlet tells her to repent for her sin of incest bc denying it is just making things worse
…For this same lordI do repent, but heaven hath pleased it so,To punish me with this, and this with me,That I must be their courage and minister Hamlet to GertrudeHamlet says he repents for his sins, too, and is not just executing heaven’s will while it punishes him by making him a murderer
I must be cruel, only to be kind Hamlet to GertrudeI must commit cruel deeds, but in the end, it is all for the right reasons
Indeed, this counsellorIs now most still, most secret, and most grave. Who was in life a foolish prating knave Hamlet to GertrudeAs Hamlet drags the body away from the Queen’s chambers, he makes light of his murder saying Polonius is more secretive and serious dead than he was alive
O come away!My soul is full of discord and dismay Claudius to GertrudeClaudius now knows that Hamlet wants to kill him, so he is trying to send him off to England as soon as possible
A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of a worm Hamlet to ClaudiusClaudius asks where Polonius is, and Hamlet says he is at dinner being eaten. His point is that it doesn’t matter who or what you are, everyone ends up dead and decaying in the ground.
Do it, England! Claudius to Rosencrantz and GuildensternClaudius signs a death warrant to send to England, telling them to kill Hamlet as soon as they can
Witness this army of such mass and chargeLed by a delicate and tender prince… Hamlet’s Soliloquy #7 Hamlet sees Fortinbras on the docks, going off to get revenge and take back the land his father died over. He is partially jealous of Fortinbras for having the guts to take action and also thinks Fortinbras is being stupid by losing all of these men for the sake of worthless land, an ironic parallel to Hamlet’s own seeking of revenge
To my sick soul (as sin’s true nature is)Each toy seems prologue to some great amiss Gertrude as an asideShe is anxious about people finding out the truth behind Polonius’ death and feels guilty for keeping it a secret.
I hope all will be well. We must be patient, but I cannot choose but weep to think they would lay him in the cold ground, My brother shall know of it; and so I thank you for good counsel. Come, my coach! Good night, ladies. Good night, sweet ladies. Good night, good night. Ophelia to Claudius and GertrudeOphelia is crazed by her depression, saying she hopes to feel better in time and just needs to let her grief settle
Let this be so.His means of death, his obscure funeral–No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o’er his bones,No noble rite nor formal ostentation,–Cry to be heard, as ‘there from heaven to earth, That I must call’t in question Laertes to ClaudiusLaertes points out how suspicious his father’s flippant burial. Claudius responds saying true, but you should rely on facts not feelings
So you shall;And where the offense is let the great axe fall Claudius to LaertesClaudius asures Laertes that he is on the side of justice and truth. The irony is in his own immoral reasons to get Hamlet out of the way
To cut his throat i’ the church! Laertes to ClaudiusLaertes is goaded into seeking murderous revenge on his father’s killer, not yet knowing that it is Hamlet. This statement is to show his true anger and willingness
Alas, poor Yorick!…Now get you ti my lady’s chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favor she must come. Hamlet to Horatio and the ClownHamlet is once again faced with the reality that everyone is going to die, so there is no point in covering up the truth in life
Sweets to the sweet! Farewell. Gertrude to a dead OpheliaAs they bury Ophelia, Gertrude says sweet flowers for a sweet girl and continues on to say how she hoped Ophelia would marry Hamlet (ironic bc this is the opposite of what Laertes told her was a possibility).
Let Hercules do what he may, The cat will mew, and the dog will have his day. Hamlet to LaertesNot even a hero like Hercules could stop Hamlet from attaining his revenge now, he says when he gets into a verbal battle with Laertes at Ophelia’s funeral
Our indiscretions sometime serve us well When our deep plots do pall; and that should learn us Hamlet to HoratioFollowing Ophelia’s funeral, Hamlet tells Horatio that our mistakes and failed plans all lead us to where we belong because God is in control
There’s a divinity that shapes our ends Rough-hew them how we will Hamlet to HoratioIn the same speech after Ophelia’s funeral, Hamlet knows that however often we mess us, God is still shaping us and leading us
Without debasement further, more or less,He should bearers put to sudden deathNot shriving time allowed Hamlet to HoratioHaving returned from England by way of pirates, Hamlet reveals to Horatio how he switched his death warrant with one for Guildenstern and Rosencrantz without time for confession
Does it not, thinks thee stand me now upon–He that hath killed my king, and whored my mother, Popped in between the election of my hopes Hamlet to HoratioIn their recap after Hamlet returns from England, Hamlet tries to solicit approval of his revenge from the level headed Horatio
There’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow.If it be now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now … the readiness is all Hamlet to HoratioThis is a reference to Matthew 10:29-31. Hamlet is again understanding that God will take care of him and his destiny
The King, the King’s to blame Laertes to HamletAt this point, Gertrude is dead and both Hamlet and Laertes are poisoned. Laertes reveals this is all Claudius’ doing
If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,Absent thee from felicity awhile,And in this harsh world draw thy breath in painTo tell my story Hamlet to HoratioIn his last, dying breath, Hamlet stops Horatio from killing himself by begging him to live on in this cruel world and spread his story of senseless pain and fruitless vengeance.
Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince. And flights of angels sing thee to they rest Horatio to the corpses of everyoneHoratio mourns the loss of Hamlet’s noble heart and kind soul, praying that he goes peacefully to heaven
For he was likely, had he been put on, To have proved most royally; and for his passageThe soldiers’ music and the rites of warSpeak loudly for him Fortinbras to HoratioFortinbras says how great a king Hamlet would have made and graciously accepts the crown
Hamlet is based on… Amleth, an 11th century Danish prince
Hamlet was written around the year… 1600
What Danish king and prince conquered England in 1014? King Sven and Prince Canute
Who enacted Denmark’s first constitution in 1282? King Eric Klipping
What Danish king was assassinated by the Norwegians (a conflict similar to that in Hamlet)? King Eric Klipping
Francis Bacon called revenge… a kind of wild justice
About how old do analysts say Hamlet is? 30
What is Hamlet’s hamartia? His tendency to overthink
What does the “hero as a paragon” theory mean? Hamlet is too good and pure for this world to be able to live in it

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