Important Hamlet Quotes

” ‘Horatio, when thou shalt have overlooked this, give these fellows some means to the king: they have letters for him. Ere we were two days old at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave us chase. Finding ourselves too slow of sail, we put on a compelled valour, and in the grapple I boarded them: on the instant they got clear of our ship; so I alone became their prisoner. They have dealt with me like thieves of mercy: but they knew what they did; I am to do a good turn for them. Let the king have the letters I have sent; and repair thou to me with as much haste as thou wouldst fly death. I have words to speak in thine ear will make thee dumb; yet are they much too light for the bore of the matter. These good fellows will bring thee where I am. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hold their course for England: of them I have much to tell thee. Farewell. He that thou knowest thine, HAMLET.’ ” (IV, vi, 12-28) SUMMARY: This quote is from a letter Horatio received from a sailer sent by Hamlet, stating that pirates attacked the ship he was on to England and helped him get back to Denmark. In return for their help he has promised to do them a favour. The other letters are for Horatio to delivery to the King and once he delivers them he is to immediately return to meet Hamlet b/c he has a lot of news to share.ANALYSIS: Hamlets return provides the dramatic device; deus ex machina(a contrived solution to a problem) for the plot. Shakespeare uses a problem that was a serious threat to the Elizabethan security=the prevalence of pirates. His return to Denmark it critical to the play’s action; as only by returning to the centre of conflict can Hamlet create the forces that drive the denouement, climax, and resolution.
” ‘High and mighty,-You shall know I am set naked on your kingdom. To-morrow shall I beg leave to see your kingly eyes: when I shall, first asking your pardon thereunto, recount the occasions of my sudden and more strange return.’ ” (IV, vii, 42-47)”Let’s further think of this; Weigh what convenience both of time and means May fit us to our shape: if this should fail,And that our drift look through our bad performance. ‘Twere better not assay’d: therefore this project Should have a back or second, that might hold If this did blast in proof. Soft! let me see:-We’ll make a solemn wager on your cunnings,-I ha’t: When in your motion you are hot and dry,-As make your bouts more violent to that end,-And that he calls for drink, I’ll have prepar’d him A chalice for the nonce; whereon but sipping, If he by chance escape your venom’d stuck, Our purpose may hold there.” (IV, vii. 148-163) SUMMARY: Hamlet wrote a letter to Claudius informing him that he escaped the ship and will return to Denmark. Claudius and Polonius plan how ensure he will not escape again. Claudius chooses undetectable poison as the weapon of choice, the same he used on Old King Hamlet.ANALYSIS: -Claudius’ choice for poison proves his insidiousness. -Hamlets statement: returning “naked” to Denmark concludes he’ll face Claudius alone. -Laertes serves the perfect FOIL for Hamlet.-Audience is sympathetic & understanding to both Laertes & Hamlet; they’ll be torn when they fight.
“It must be se offendendo; it cannot be else. For here lies the point: if I drown myself wittingly, it argues an act: and an act hath three branches; it is to act, to do, and to perform: argal, she drowned herself wittingly.”(V, I. 8-13)” ‘Swounds, show me what thou’lt do: Woul’t weep? woul’t fight? woul’t fast woul’t tear thyself? Woul’t drink up eisel? eat a crocodile? I’ll do’t.-Dost thou come here to whine? To outface me with leaping in her grave? Be buried quick with her, and so will I: And, if thou prate of mountains, let them throw Millions of acres on us, till our ground, Singeing his pate against the burning zone, Make Ossa like a wart! Nay, an thou’lt mouth, I’ll rant as well as thou’.” (V, I. 275-284) SUMMARY: The Gravediggers are discussion Ophelia’s death, whether it was suicide or not, and conflicted about whether or not she deserves a Chrstian burial due to religious beliefs.ANALYSIS:-introduces the idea to audience that Ophelia may have killed herself.-Shakespeare reiterates the death theme & explores the absolute finality of death.-each of the gravediggers reference to death foreshadows Hamlets participation in the upcoming deaths, including his own.-shows that Shakespeare supported the Christian burial for suicides.-fight b/w Laertes & Hamlet symbolizes Hamlets internal struggle to control his inability to act.
“Why, man, they did make love to this employment; They are not near my conscience; their defeatDoes by their own insinuation grow: ‘Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes Between the pass and fell incensed points Of mighty opposites.” (V, ii. 56-62) ANALYSIS:-recognize Hamlets change in first part of scene when he dismiss’s how he sent Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to their deaths.-his calculating premeditation of these actions are a complete reversal of the Hamlet the audience has come to know. -Hamlet has transformed himself from a man who wallows in self-recrimination into one who can blithely justify cold-blooded betrayal and murder.-he has become a man who assumes he can take responsibly for righting all the wrong created by his corrupt view/relationship w/ Claudius.
“The king, sir, hath laid that, in a dozen passes between your and him, he shall not exceed you three hits: he hathlaid on twelve for nine; and it would come to immediate trial if your lordship would vouchsafe the answer.” (V, ii. 161-165) ANALYSIS:-Shakespeare juxtaposes Osric’s entrance against Hamlet’s resolve to act.-Osric embodies all that is rotten in the state of Denmark, as he represents the evil Hamlet spoke of in Act II when he observed the court in drunken revel.
“Not a whit, we defy augury: 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; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he leaves, what is’t to leave betimes?” (V, ii. 209-214) ANALYSIS: -His words paraphrase the Biblical passage that no sparrow falls without God’s knowledge.-Hamlet portrays the consummate existentialist, facing his struggle to play out with dignity and honour.-He truly exists in the moment, and will seize it.
“Let four captains Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage; For he was likely, had he been put on, To have prov’d most royally: and, for his passage, The soldiers’ music and the rites of war Speak loudly for him.-Take up the bodies.-Such a sight as this Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss. Go, bid the soldiers shoot.” ( V, ii. 385-395) ANALYSIS:-Fortinbras has become King of Denmark and orders the others to host a Catholic burial service for Hamlet, referring to him as a warrior and hero.-Hamlet died a hero, and avenged his fathers murder while keeping his name clean.

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