Hamlet Quotes: Final Exam

“O that this too too solid flesh would melt.” Hamlet’s Soliloquy (Act 1 Scene 2): Hamlet debating the idea of suicide and mortality. ‘Solid’ directly corresponds with the word ‘melt’, this indicates a change of state, therefore implying the idea of death and decay. The repetition of ‘too’ intensifies Hamlet’s wish to be dead. This acts as pathos; causing the audience to develop feelings of sympathy for him. The rhythm of this line is jerky and inconsistent – this reflects Hamlet’s pain and confusion. It also links to the 6th commandment, which forbids murder (including suicide) showing that he is considering death with respect to his religion; Hamlet is bound by this, Claudius is not.
“Weary, stale, flat and unprofitable.” Hamlet’s Soliloquy (Act 1 Scene 2): Hamlet uses this list to intensify and exaggerate his negative thoughts. This indicates to the audience him beginning to fully consider suicide.
“Hyperion to a satyr.” Hamlet’s Soliloquy (Act 1 Scene 2): This is an allusion to Greek Mythology. This metaphor refers to his uncle as a ‘hyperion’ (in the eyes of the audience): a man who represents honour and virtue, but Hamlet shows that he really views him someone more similar to a ‘satyr’: a goat-like creature who is known to be evil and overindulging. This shows Hamlet’s disapproval towards both his uncle and his hasty remarriage. (Appearance vs. Reality) It also indicates Hamlet’s hatred for his uncle and gives him a reason to take action against his father’s murder. Hyperion may also be aimed at his father and satyr to Claudius, indicating Hamlet’s thought of his father being superior to his uncle (as a man, father and King).
“Frailty, thy name is woman.” Hamlet’s Soliloquy (Act 1 Scene 2): Here, Hamlet is derogitory towards his mother highlighting his general disapproval for her hasty remarriage and her lack of mourning. It also indicates Hamlet’s general view of women to the audience; that women are weak and naive. This shows the stereotypical vision of women that existed during this time. Here, he accuses her of not being strong enough to mourn her husband’s death for a substantial amount of time, indicating he believes she needs a man for support. He follows this by saying that even an animal, with little emotion or ability to reason, would’ve mourned the loss longer. This shows his anger and disappointment towards her.
“Fear it Ophelia! Fear it dear sister.” Laertes (Act 1 Scene 3): This indicates Ophelia’s disapproval of Hamlet and her sister’s relationship with him. Laertes plants ideas within Ophelia’s head causing her to doubt her relationship with Hamlet. This shows how much Ophelia relies on the male dominance within her life to lead her in the ‘correct’ path. This makes her susceptible to manipulation and mistreatment as they begin to abuse the relationship they have with her.
“You speak like a green girl.” Polonium to Ophelia (Act 1 Scene 3): Here, Polonius undermines Ophelia’s intelligence and passes off her comments as he believes she is simply being naive. The significance of the colour, green, indicates the idea of inexperience. This shows Polonius’ domineering effect on Ophelia and his method of manipulation to force her to end her relationship with Hamlet.
“Revenge his foul, unnatural murder.” Ghost (Act 1 Scene 5): Hamlet encounters his father’s ghost where he is told to avenge his father’s death. This quote shows how Hamlet was spurred to take vengeance against his uncle.
“Something rotten in the state of Denmark” Marcellus (Act 1 Scene 4): Refers to the corrupt ruling class in Denmark and implies the destruction of something unknown; predetermined resolution. ‘Rotten’ may also refer to the investors relationship of Claudius and Gertrude (suspiciously corrupt) leading to Hamlet’s upset, supporting the idea of corruption and foul play after the King’s death within the monarchy.
“The serpent that did sting thy father’s life now wears his crown.” Ghost (Act 1 Scene 5): This is the first indication in which the audience and Hamlet are told how King Hamlet actually died. The reference to a ‘serpent’ is symbolic of the idea of evil due to the biblical connotations surrounding it. This therefore highlights to the audience the false persona that Claudius has created; persona of a nobleman to act as a cover up to prevent people suspecting his for the murder.
“O villain, villain, smiling damned villain!” Hamlet’s Soliloquy (Act 1 Scene 5): This oxymoron is used to show the trickery in which Claudius used when creating a false persona of a nobleman to hide his guilt for murdering his brother to become heir to the throne. The contrast of the words; ‘smiling’ and ‘damned’ shows the deception Hamlet feels he has been subject to. The repetition of ‘villain’ intensifies this idea of his uncle being evil and deceitful.
“to be or not to be, that is the question.” Hamlet’s Soliloquy (Act 3 Scene 1): Hamlet debates the idea of existence with respect to his faith. In one hand, Hamlet could put an end to his suffering but risks breaching the laws of the church, but if he doesn’t take action, he must endure a long period of suffering living. This shows Hamlet’s inner conflict, therefore causing the audience to sympathise with him (pathos). Authoritative tone adds to the ambiguity surrounding Hamlet’s mental state and is used to deliberately create this sense of mystery around it.
“…disprized love” Hamlet’s Soliloquy (Act 3 Scene 1): This quotation actually means, ‘undervalued love’. This highlights that Hamlet believes that the relationships that exist within his life (e.g. his mother and Claudius and his own relationship with Ophelia) are what lead him to consider his own sacrifice. This indicates to the audience that Hamlet has a general hatred towards love which may be inspired by Shakespeare’s own negative experiences with women/love during this time. This then makes us assume that Hamlet is almost a fictional representation of himself.
“Do you believe his tenders as you speak them?” Polonius (Act 2 Scene 4): Polonius questions Ophelia on her relationship with Hamlet which makes her doubt his motives within their relationship. This is an example of Ophelia being manipulated by the men in her life. This provokes the audience to feel sympathy for her character (pathos).
“I loved you not.” Hamlet to Ophelia (Act 3 Scene 1): This shows Hamlet disregarding his love for Ophelia as a defence mechanism to protect his own ego and pride. This contrasts with a quotation further in the novel.
“Get thee to a nunnery!” Hamlet to Ophelia (Act 3 Scene 1): Here Hamlet refers to a nunnery to convey the idea that he views her as only a sexual object. Ultimately, he calls her a ‘who’re’. Typically, women of this nature were rejected from society during the 1600s, this shows that Hamlet believes that there is no reason for her to exist within his life anymore and that they should never see nor be intimate with one another again. By referring to her as a ‘*****’ indicates to the audience the lack of respect and acknowledgement men had for women during this time and that they were simply there to fulfil their sexual desires. Exclamations also imply Hamlet is shouting at her aggressively, therefore highlighting the difference in treatment between men and women. This evokes a sense of sympathy within the audience towards Ophelia (pathos) and causes her to believe that he never truly loved her.
“Where is your father?” Hamlet to Ophelia (Act 3 Scene 1): This indicates the male dominance which is associated with women during this time. It portrays the idea that women are being objectified and ‘owned’ by men within their family. This also implies that Hamlet believes Ophelia has never been taught right from wrong (with respect to sexualising herself) by a male figure, therefore dehumanising and rejecting her from his life due to the lack of desire to want to be associated with her.
“God hath given you one face and you make yourselves another.” Hamlet to Ophelia (Act 3 Scene 1): The plural of ‘yourselves’ shows Hamlet generalising Ophelia with other women and in turn shows his general hated for women and their catty behaviour. Although spoke directly to Ophelia, he is also indicating. His hatred for his mother and her choice to get remarried to his uncle. This hatred towards all women may have been influenced by Shakespeare’s own hostility whilst publishing them. During this time he was known to have a broken heart from a previous relationship; therefore Hamlet’s character soon becomes a fictional representation of his own. This makes Hamlet’s character come to life and become more realistic to the audience, but also establishes a clear link between society in the 1600s and the plot.
“It hath the primal eldest curse upon'” Claudius (Act 3 Scene 3): This indicates his longing to get forgiveness but is unwilling to give up what he gained from murdering his brother, his kingship and power.
“And so I am revenged.” Hamlet (Act 3 Scene 3): This indicates to the audience Hamlet’s willingness to take action against his uncle and follow through with his murderous thoughts. This indicates Hamlet’s clear state of mind before the change that occurs further in the scene.
“This same villain send to heaven.” Hamlet (Act 3 Scene 3): This is Hamlet’s justification for his indecision to murder Claudius. Hamlet chooses not to follow through with the deed as it was a common belief within the church that if someone was killed in the act of prayer, they would automatically be sent to heaven, despite their previous sins. However despite his indecision, Hamlet’s hatred and resentment for his uncle still exists. This indicates that Hamlet’s ability to overthink slowly begins to become his fatal flaw.
“His soul may be as damned and black” Hamlet (Act 3 Scene 3): This dialogue indicates to the audience that his passion and hatred towards Claudius still remains. Shakespeare uses the symbolism of the colour, black, as the colour has typical connotations with evil and horror. This emphasises to the audience the intensity of his hatred as it highlights how deeply Hamlet feels his tendencies lie within his character.
“my words fly up, my thoughts remain below” Claudius (Act 3 Scene 3): This is when the audience realise that this has become Hamlet’s missed opportunity to take action and this then becomes the turning point in the plot. This is the moment when Hamlet’s fatal flaw is confirmed; his indecision. Here, Claudius explains that although he says a prayer and asks for redemption from God, he cannot pray with meaning and intent as he doesn’t full regret murdering his brother as his power and kingship obviously is a more significant part of his life than his relationship.
“Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.” Hamlet (Act 3 Scene 4): Refers to himself by ‘bad’, this indicates he is saying he will continue to plan to take action on his murderous thoughts and it is the start of the rage, but he says what he has planned to do and will do is still never as evil what Claudius has done (murder his brother and remarry to his wife). This shows Hamlet is assuming moral superiority and is siding with his mother.
“Denmark is a prison.” Hamlet (Act 3 Scene 5): This metaphor compares Denmark to a prison, this highlights Hamlet’s feelings of being trapped and manipulated by his surrounding and the people near him. It may also refer to the idea that everyone in the plot is bound to Denmark due to the circumstances that have arisen due to the corruption within the monarchy proceeding King Hamlet’s death.
“That I shall live and tell him to his teeth ‘thus didest thou!” Laertes (Act 4 Scene 7): Key example of the blood revenge that exists between Laertes and Hamlet following the suicide of Ophelia and death of Polonius. Laertes plans to avenge his father, Polonius’ death by murdering Hamlet. In the scene, Claudius and Laertes join forces against Hamlet, therefore heightening the idea of Hamlet having a fatal death.
“To cut his throat i’th’church!” Laertes (Act 4 Scene 7): Shows Laertes planning to avenge Hamlet similarly to how Hamlet initially planned to kill Claudius. This indicates a clear similarity between both men and shows the potential rivalry (foreshadowing what is to come). The fact he says he will kill him in the church, shows that Laertes’ passion and drive to follow through with his action are more intense and shows he doesn’t care about the consequences, but will act on his first thought (won’t make the same mistake as Hamlet did; allowing his fatal flaw to get in the way).
“I loved Ophelia” Hamlet at Ophelia’s funeral (Act 5 Scene 1): This directly contrasts with an earlier quotation showing that Act 3 Scene 1’s reaction was simply a cover up to protect his own ego, unveiling the selfish streak which lies within Hamlet. His ability to acknowledge this shows his regret for Ophelia allows the audience to see his more affectionate side (his desire for a stable relationship with women).
“Forty thousand brothers with all their quantity of love could not make my sum!” Hamlet at Ophelia’s funeral (Act 5 Scene 1): In the scene, we see a competitive nature arise within both Laertes and Hamlet over Ophelia. This reveals the regret in which both men have in how they treated her. This quote in particular shows Hamlet’s obvious adoration and everlasting love for Ophelia as he used a quantity to emphasise and eve late his love for her.
“O cursed spite! That ever I was born to set it right” Hamlet initially feels no instinctual desire to avenge his father’s death, rather he curses the fate that fell to him in which he is burdened by the obligation to seek what is right (1500s blood revenge – justice). This indicates Hamlet’s

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