Hamlet Act 1 Important Quotes

“Not a mouse stirring” Francisco (to Barnardo)
“In the most high and palmy state of Rome, A little ere the mightiest Julius fell, The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets.” Horatio (to Barnardo, comparing Denmark to the Fall of Rome)
“And then it started like a guilty thing Upon a fearful summons.” Horatio (to Barnardo, about the Ghost leaving when the cock crows)
“It faded on the crowing of the cock. Some say that ever ‘gainst that season comes Wherein our Saviour’s birth is celebrated, The bird of dawning singeth all night long: And then; they say, no spirit dare stir abroad; The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike, No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm, So hallow’d and so gracious is the time.” Marcellus (to Horatio, about the Ghost leaving when the cock crows)
“But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad, Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastward hill.” Horatio (to Marcellus, about the morning after the Ghost appears)
“The memory be green.” Claudius (to court, in remembrance of King Hamlet)
“With an auspicious and dropping eye, With north in a funeral and with dirge in marriage, In equal scale weighing delight and dole.” Claudius (to court, about moving on from the grief for King Hamlet and cementing his rule as king)
“The head is not more native to the heart.” Claudius (to Laertes, addressing him instead of Hamlet)
“A little more than kin, and less than kind.” Hamlet (aside, about Claudius being both uncle and father)
“All that lives must die passing through nature to eternity.” Gertrude (to Hamlet, trying to comfort his grief)
“But I have that within which passeth show; These but the trappings and the suits of woe.” Hamlet (to Gertrude, about his grief and depression)
“Tis a fault to Heaven A fault against the dead, a fault to nature, To reason most absurd.” Claudius (to Hamlet, referring to “unmanly grief” and how the death of a father is a common theme)
“O, that this too too sallied flesh would melt, Thaw and resolve itself to dew! Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God! God! How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable Seem to me all the uses of this world!” Hamlet (soliloquy, referring to how he would kill himself if it were not a sin against God)
“That it should come to this!” Hamlet (soliloquy, lamenting the death of his father and marriage of his mother)
“My lord, I came to see your father’s funeral.” Horatio (to Hamlet, about his arrival)
“I prithee thee do not mock me, fellow studient, I think it was to see my mother’s wedding.” Hamlet (to Horatio, mocking him and the wedding)
“Why, she would hang on him, As if increase of appetite had grown By what it fed on.” Hamlet (soliloquy, lamenting why his mother married so early to Claudius)
“Frailty, thy name is woman!” Hamlet (soliloquy, accusing his mother of being weak)
“A little month” Hamlet (soliloquy, oxymoron satirizing how quickly his mother was wed)
“She married – O most wicked speed: to post With such dexterity to investors sheets.” Hamlet (soliloquy, lamenting his mother’s quick marriage)
“So excellent a king, that was to this Hyperion to a satyr.” Hamlet (soliloquy, comparing King Hamlet to Hyperion and Claudius to a satyr)
“Like Niobe, all tears.” Hamlet (soliloquy, referring to Gertrude)
“My father’s brother, but no more like my father Than I to Hercules” Hamlet (soliloquy, referring to himself as Hercules)
“It is not, nor it cannot come to good, But break my heart, for I must hold my tongue.” Hamlet (end of soliloquy, lamenting how he cannot speak against his mother’s marriage)
“A truant disposition, good my lord” Horatio (to Hamlet, referring to his time in Wittenberg and why he has returned)
“Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral bak’d meats Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.” Hamlet (to Horatio, referring to the speed of the wedding after his father’s funeral)
“In my mind’s eye, Horatio.” Hamlet (to Horatio, referring to how he sees his father in his head)
“He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.” Hamlet (to Horatio, speaking highly of his father)
“Season your admiration for a while.” Horatio (to Hamlet, describing his encounter with the Ghost)
“In the dead waste and middle of the night” Horatio (to Hamlet, describing his encounter with the Ghost)
“All is not well; I doubt some foul play.” Hamlet (soliloquy, referring to how he suspects some foul play in the death of his father after hearing of his Ghost)
“A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.” Horatio (to Hamlet, describing the Ghost’s countenance)
“Foul deeds will rise, Though all the earth o’erwhelm them to men’s eyes.” Hamlet (soliloquy, referring to how he is the only one in the castle who suspects foul play)
“A violet in the youth of primy nature, Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting, The perfume and suppliance of a minute.” Laertes (to Ophelia, warning her of Hamlet’s fleeting love)
“And keep you in the rear of your affection, Our of the shot and danger of desire, The chariest maid is prodigal enough If she unmasks her beauty to the moon.” Laertes (to Ophelia, warning her not to be seduced by Hamlet)
“Do not, as some ungracious pastors do, Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven; Whiles, like a puffed and reckless libertine, Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads, And decks not his own rede.” Ophelia (to Laertes, telling him to practice what he preaches)
“Give thy thoughts no tongue.” Polonius (to Laertes, advising his son before he departs)
“The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, Grapple them to hoops of steel.” Polonius (to Laertes, advising his son before he departs)
“The apparel oft proclaims the man.” Polonius (to Laertes, advising his son before he departs)
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For a loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.” Polonius (to Laertes, advising his son before he departs)
“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” Polonius (to Laertes, instructing him to serve himself and his needs before he helps others)
“You speak like a free girl, Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.” Polonius (to Ophelia, dismissing the legitimacy of Hamlet’s love for her)
“Springes to catch woodcocks.” Polonius (to Ophelia, warning her that Hamlet’s declarations of love are meant to deceive her)
“When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul Lends the tongue vows.” Polonius (to Ophelia, warning her of Hamlet’s intentions in courting her)
“Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence.” Polonius (to Ophelia, warning her to stay away from Hamlet)
“It is a nipping and an eager air.” Horatio (to Hamlet, about how cold it is)
“But to my mind – though I am native here And to the manner born, – it is a custom More honored in the breach than the observance.” Hamlet (to Horatio, about Claudius throwing parties and celebrating despite the 6 month mourning period)
“Angels and ministers of grace, defend us! Be thou a spirit of health or a goblin damned, Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell, Be thy intents wicked or charitable, Thou comest in such a questionable shape That I will speak to thee: I’ll call thee Hamlet, King, father, royal Dane: O, answer me!” Hamlet (to self as Ghost makes its first appearance)
“I do not set my life at a pin’s fee; And set my soul, what can it do to that, Being a thing immortal as itself?” Hamlet (to Horatio and the guards, about how he knows the ghost cannot harm him)
“Unhand me, gentlemen. By heaven, I’ll make a ghost of him that lets me!” Hamlet (to Horatio and the guards, instructing them to let him go follow the ghost)
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” Marcellus (to Horatio, after Hamlet leaves with the ghost)
“I am thy father’s spirit: 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 nature Are burnt and purged away.” Ghost (to Hamlet, describing who he is and why he is here)
“Revenge his foul and most unnatural murther” Ghost (to Hamlet, describing his death)
“Murder most foul.” Ghost (to Hamlet, describing his death)
“O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!” Hamlet (aside, remarking about encountering the Ghost)
“There’s never a villain dwelling in Denmark. But he’s an arrant knave.” Hamlet (to Horatio and the guards, remarking and demeaning Claudius)
“So lust, though to a radiant angel link’d, Will sate itself in a celestial bed And prey on garbage” Ghost (to Hamlet, about Gertrude)
“Let not the royal bed of Denmark be A couch for luxury and damned incest” Ghost (to Hamlet, about Gertrude)