‘Tis an unweeded garden that grows to seed Speaker: HamletContext: Act 1 Scene 2; Hamlet is telling himself that his life is pointless and wishing God had not made a law against suicide.Significance: He is comparing his life to a garden that no one is taking care of. It is pointless and it is beginning to grow wild.Application: People with depression sometimes feel like suicide is the only option
Frailty, thy name is woman Speaker: HamletContext: Act 1 Scene 2; Hamlet is speaking to himself about his mother after he found out about his father’s deathSignificance: He says that she is weak for marrying Claudius even though she probably did not want to, he forced and seduced her. Application: Some women nowadays marry men for their money or because they are told to.
Give every man thine ear, but few thy choice Speaker: PoloniusContext: Act 1 Scene 3; Laertes is about to leave for Paris and Polonius is telling him how to behave in front of peopleSignificance: Polonius means for him to listen to all people that approach him, for it is the right thing to do. But do not talk to many at allApplication: Some people today are workaholics and do not wish to make friends with many people, but will respond to people if they are approached.
Neither a borrower or a lender be Speaker: PoloniusContext: Act 1 Scene 3; he is still speaking to Laertes about how to act around people he meets in Paris Significance: He is telling him to not borrow money from people or lend it, because he says that if you borrow money you are a spend thrift, and if you lend then you lose the friendship and the money.Application: Some people borrow money or items from you and you never see them be returned or repaid
To thine own self be true Speaker: PoloniusContext: Act 1 Scene 3; Polonius is talking to his son Laertes about how to act in front of people in ParisSignificance: He is telling Laertes to be true to himself, because that is most importantApplication: Too often nowadays young girls compromise their virtue and they do not stay true to themselves for a boy or because they think it will make them popular.
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark Speaker: MarcellusContext: Act 1 Scene 4; Hamlet has just seen a ghost of his father and it is telling him to follow him. Horatio questions what this could mean, and that is Marcellus’ responseSignificance: Marcellus believes that there is something evil is going on in Denmark if the ghost of the previous king is floating around wanting to speak to Hamlet.Application: Some people can sense when danger is about to happen and can escape the situation before it gets out of hand.
The serpent that did sting thy father’s life now wears his crown Speaker: The GhostContext: Act 1 Scene 5; The ghost begins to tell Hamlet that his father was murdered and was not killed by an actual snakeSignificance: Claudius, the king’s brother is the one who killed Hamlet and this leads to Hamlet needing revenge for his father’s death Application:
Brevity is the soul of wit Speaker: PoloniusContext: Act 2 Scene 2; Polonius is rambling on to Claudius about why he thinks Hamlet is madSignificance: Shakespeare is making a joke in this line and to establish Polonius as a blabbering idiot. Polonius says that the essence of wisdom is not talking too much, he’ll get to the point. But all he is doing is talking too much. Shakespeare is adding humorApplication: All people know at least one person that needs to learn to stop talking, but that person never knows that they talk too much.
Though this be madness, yet there is a method in’t Speaker: PoloniusContext: Act 2 Scene 2; Polonius and Hamlet are carrying on a pointless conversation and Hamlet is mocking Polonius and he thinks Hamlet is even more crazy.Significance: Hamlet is responding to Polonius in a mocking manner and he finds it humorous, but Polonius thinks that he is just even more crazy so he says that there is a method to Hamlet’s madness. But Hamlet is really just being funny. Shakespeare is showing Hamlet’s wit and disrespect towards adultsApplication: Some people go about things very differently but all people have their own method of getting by that works for them
For there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so Speaker: HamletContext: Act 2 Scene 2; Hamlet is telling Rosencrantz and Guildenstern how he thinks that Denmark is a prison. Significance: Shakespeare is trying to show how much Hamlet hates Denmark and wishes for his father back. Hamlet tells his friends that nothing is technically good or bad, but it’s all about how you perceive it. Application: If something bad happens to you, someone else might not see it as being so bad. It’s all about how you think it in your head.
The play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King Speaker: HamletContext: Act 2 Scene 2; Hamlet is talking to himself about how he will set up a play reenacting his father’s death that will reveal his uncle’s true conscience and guiltSignificance: This monologue from Hamlet puts the plan of his father’s revenge into motion. He has to know that the ghost was right first though, but he is sure that he is right. Application: A witness today in a court may be holding some vital information back about a crime, but when presented with certain kinds of evidence on the stand it may trigger their emotions and cause them to reveal what they are holding back.
To be or not to be; that is the question Speaker: HamletContext: Act 3 Scene 1; Hamlet is speaking to himself and pondering all that is going on inside his head after the news about his father.Significance: Hamlet wonders if it is better to be alive or to be dead. This shows the very dark side Hamlet has, and we also see that he really does not care about living at all when he is surrounded by such deceitful people. Application: People with suicidal thoughts tend to ask themselves that question, whether or not life is worth it.
Get thee to a nunnery Speaker: HamletContext: Act 3 Scene 1; Hamlet is telling Ophelia he does not love her anymore and that she needs to get herself to a convent at once. Significance: Hamlet tells her this because he does not want her to have sex with a man and produce more children who will sin. He believes all people are criminals and he does not want more of them crawling on the earth.Application: It is becoming more and more common nowadays for a couple to get married and not want kids, so they take preventive steps to prevent it.
The lady doth protest too much, methinks Speaker: GertrudeContext: Act 3 Scene 2; Gertrude and Hamlet are discussing the play and Gertrude thinks that the actress playing the Queen is overdoing it.Significance: This line is ironic because Gertrude says it in an almost defensive way, which shows that the words that the actress is saying hit too close to home with Gertrude and probably cause her much grief and guilt. Application: When movies are remade in Hollywood, sometimes people get very defensive because the actors or actresses chosen do not do as good of a job as the previous movie’s actors or actresses.
My words fly up, my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to heaven go Speaker: ClaudiusContext: Act 3 Scene 3; Claudius is trying to pray and repent for what he did but he knows that his words will never make it to heaven.Significance: Although Claudius says he wants to be forgiven, he says that his words without thoughts will never make it to heaven, and his thoughts are still on earth. This line shows that he is pretty heartless and is not actually sorry.Application: When people do you wrong and they are not actually sorry about it, their words of apology mean nothing you can tell they don’t actually mean them.
Hoist with his own petard Speaker: HamletContext: Act 3 Scene 4; Hamlet is speaking to his mother about him being sent away to England.Significance: Hamlet is speaking figuratively about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and how they will lead him to mischief. He also is being witty and says that it’s like engineers who step on their own explosives and blow themselves up. Application:
Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest Speaker: HoratioContext: Act 5 Scene 2; Hamlet has just died and Horatio hopes that angels will bring him to heaven.Significance: Horatio knows that Hamlet was never a bad person or had bad intentions. He knows that he would’ve been a great king if he had the chance. He hopes that Hamlet will be welcomed into heaven. Application: When someone we know and love dies, our hearts break and we pray that angels will bring them safely to God in heaven.