Hamlet Quotattions

Tis bitter cold /and I am sick at heart Francisco to Barnardo: during a changing of guard between the two men. Francisco’s comment highlights not only his literal sickness, but also his mourning of the death of Old Hamlet, which technically should not be affecting him as he is supposed to be devoted wholeheartedly to the new king, Claudius. This highlights the motif of disease that continues throughout the play, which covers not only physical ailments, but problems within the kingdom as there is a rift between those who are loyal to Claudius, and those who are still loyal to the late Hamlet. This motif of disease in this sense connects to the theme of will versus desire, as Francisco and Barnado have no choice but to defend their new king Claudius, when they desire to keep their loyalties with the past king
Not a mouse stirring Francisco to Barnardo: during the changing of guard, telling him that nothing eventful occurred during his time at watch. In an atmosphere that is already a little uneasy as the guards are shown to be nervous and on edge, this comment does nothing to ease the men’s sense of foreboding. The setting of such absolute silence brings to mind the idea of the calm before the storm, as the men sense that something of great importance is soon to occur. This ties into the theme of appearance versus reality, as the environment may seem to be peaceful due to the quietness, but in reality there is an ominious feel to it as the men are forced to watch and wait for whatever happens, good or bad.
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark Marcellus to Horatio: as the two men follow Hamlet and the ghost to hear their conversation. Superficially, the quote could mean that something is not right in the general area of Denmark, without any specific accusations. However, Denmark is often used interchangeably, meaning not only the general state, but also in some cases, the specific king. In this sense, Marcellus is really doing an act of treason as he is accusing the king of committing some transgression, although he is not completely positive about what the transgression is. By stating this after seeing Old Hamlet’s ghost, Marcellus may be assuming that Claudius had something to do with Old Hamlet’s death. This quotation connects to the motif of disease and decay as it refers to the wrongful actions of Claudius as a type of disease within the government, and also foreshadows the realization that Old Hamlet was actually killed by a disease Claudius gave him, by pouring poison into his ear. This connects to the theme of appearance versus reality, as it appears as though Old Hamlet just happened to die of a natural disease, when in reality he was murdered by the poison Claudius put into his ear.
*All that lives must die/Passing through nature to eternity *Gertrude to Hamlet:In the court at Elsinore, we first see Hamlet as the distraught son mourning his father’s death. His mother Queen Gertrude on the other hand is happily married to his uncle Claudius, the new king of Denmark. Gertrude criticizes her son for being unnecessarily overdramatic. She states the obvious fact that everything that lives dies, offering disdain for her son’s feelings rather than consolation through his mourning. The motif of nature is also introduced through her quote, and thus associated most often with the women Gertrude and Ophelia in the play. Through mentioning eternity, she suggests that she is in fact a pure a woman of nature with the religious insight into afterlife that gets her through the mourning, implying that religious peace and clear logic is what Hamlet lacks.
*Frailty, thy name is woman *Hamlet soliloquy: after speaking with his mother and Claudius. In the soliloquy, Hamlet is associating frailty with women, because of Gertrude’s obviously changing loyalties as she so quickly moves on from Old Hamlet’s death, marrying Claudius only a month later. He does not seem to believe her capable of having any underhanded motives in this, because she is a woman and therefore does not have the ability or intelligence to be anything more than gullible and easily swayed. he seems to believe that this is just a trait found in all woman, because all women are fragile and weak, and therefore does not seem to have to much anger against his mother, since her frailty is supposedly something she cannot help. This quote relates to the theme of gender, as Hamlet is making a stereotype directed toward all women just based on the actions of his mother.
*Foul deeds will rise/Though all the earth o’erwhelm them, to men’s eyes *Hamlet soliloquy: in a short soliloquy after Barnardo, Horatio, and Marcellus leave him, after the incident with his father’s ghost. He is saying that Claudius’ crime will become known, even though Claudius is using all his power to hide the murder of Old Hamlet. This is basically saying the cliche of “all that is in the dark will come to light.” Also, by saying that mens’ eyes do not have the ability to see the crime, the supernatural forces do, and he has the assistance of them in the ghost of his father, giving him the ability to see what other men cannot, in a way placing him above mortals. This relates to the theme of appearance versus reality because it appears as though nothing is wrong because Claudius has virtually done everything humanly possible to keep the truth from becoming known, but in reality, he had no idea that the ghost of Old Hamlet would appear and tell Hamlet the truth- he did not account for the supernatural.
*Neither a borrower nor a lender be/For loan oft loses both itself and friend *Polonius to Laertes: on how to act giving him seemingly sound advice; however, in reality Polonius does not trust Laertes to follow any of it. Actually, later in the play, Polonius tasks Reynaldo to spy on Laertes and also spread little rumors about Laertes. Polonius’s piece of advice is little more than silliness spouted from the mouth of a delusional narcisist. Polonius is so consumed with his vanity that he willing lets both of his children suffer, though his self-conceit leads him to think that he is clever. His obsession with how others perceive him becomes part of his downfall, because he is too busy meddling in the lives of others he does not realize he is in danger.
To thine own self be true/And it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man Polonious to Laertes: eagerly awaits boarding the boat to Paris where he will continues his education, yet Polonius holds him there with a lengthy monologue filled with most likely unwanted advice. Among the most famous of Shakespeare’s lines, this is the final piece of advice Polonius gives to Leartes; however, it resonates with Polonius’ own self-satisfaction, robbing the line of its wisdom. Wisely, Polonius instructs that by remaining true to your own values you will later be of such high standing that you can help your fellow man. Ironically, Polonius’ fails to follow his own haughty advice. His actions will prove to be much less than truthful and honest, resulting in his death.
But virtue, as it never will be moved, thought lewdness court it in a shape of heaven, So lust, thought to a radiant angel linked, Will sate itself in a celestial bed/And prey on garbage Ghost to Hamlet: n Act 1 scene 5, the ghost of old Hamlet is speaking to young Hamlet. Both Hamlet and the ghost of his father dwell over Gertrude’s, the Queen’s, virtue. It’s not clear as to what specific action they are referring to, however, because there are multiple denotations of the word “adulterate.” Their conversation could imply that Gertrude cheated on old Hamlet while he was still alive with Claudius, or it could simply refer to the fact that Gertrude married her former brother-in-law, which was considered incest, a sexual sin, in Elizabethan times. The ghost implies that his marriage to Gertrude, his “most seeming-virtuous queen,” was not what he believed it to be (appearance vs. reality), and that she, as a characteristically frail woman, gives in to her sexual desire just a bit too easily.
The time is out of joint, O cursed spite/That ever I was born to set it right Hamlet to Horatio and Marcellus: In Act 1 scene 5, Hamlet is speaking to Horatio and Marcellus after he has just spoken with the ghost, his deceased father, and learned that his father was murdered by his Uncle Claudius. Instead of Hamlet’s father being king and everything being as it should with the world, Claudius has disrupted Fate by breaking the true path of time and history when he murdered old Hamlet and stole the throne of Denmark from him. Claudius has attempted to cheat Fate by dishonestly advancing to a higher standing on the Great Chain of Being, and Hamlet sees it as his fate to restore order to the world by restoring the Chain.
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 rects not his own ride Ophelia to Laertes: In act 1 scene 3, Ophelia is speaking to her brother, Laertes. He is just about to leave for France, but has paused to give her advice before leaving. He warns her against taking Hamlet’s interest in her too seriously, because if she does, Hamlet will break and corrupt her fragile, youthful heart. Ophelia tells Laertes that she will follow his advice as long as he follows that advice as well and doesn’t act as though he’s a faultless man who does everything just right while criticizing her. Ophelia’s statement is basically reminding him that “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” This foreshadows the wrongdoing that Laertes will engage in while in France, such as going to brothels, gambling, etc.; Laertes certainly does not follow his own advice and corrupts his innocence, just as he has warned Ophelia against doing.
I do not set my life at a pin’s fee;/And for my soul, what can it do to that, Being a thing immortal as itself Hamlet to Horatio and Marcellus: In act 1 scene 4, Hamlet is speaking to Horatio and Marcellus when he is trying to follow the ghost as it beckons him, and Horatio and Marcellus are attempting to convince him not to go, because it could be dangerous. Hamlet is saying that he most certainly does not value his physical safety, possibly echoing his previous desire for death. Especially after encountering the ghost, he is assured that nothing could possibly hurt his soul. He feels that he’s lost so much that there is little for him on earth. He is partially driven mad with the desire to see his father once again, as he cares for nothing but following the ghost he’s been told is his father. However, his rhetorical inquiry about the fate of his “immortal soul” foreshadows his eventual downward spiral into madness, because the ghost affects him much more than he thought it would. He would not consider how the ghost could affect his mind, even though Horatio predicted this very thing in the next line.
Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth Polonious to Reynaldo: In act 2 scene 1, Polonius uses this metaphor when indirectly instructing his servant, Reynaldo, to spy on his son, Laertes. By making up lies, or “bait,” about Laertes, Polonius hopes that Reynaldo will catch a “carp,” which will be the truth. People generally love to gossip, and Polonius hopes that, if Reynaldo pretends to gossip about various shenanigans that Laertes has gotten himself into, such as betting or going to brothels, the people that Reynaldo talks to will gossip back with him and provide additional, factual information that goes along with the fake information. Although Polonius tells Reynaldo that he’ll be telling lies as “bait,” Polonius must suspect, or even know, that his son does in fact drink, gamble, go to brothels, etc. Polonius’s metaphor highlights his corruption as he sends someone to spy on his son, characterizing him as a dishonest man. It also differentiates between Laertes’s appearance and the reality of who he truly is.
Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t Polonious Aside: In act 2 scene 2, Polonius is speaking about Hamlet in an aside, as Hamlet is feigning madness. While spurting “insane” words, he succeeds in slipping in insults toward Polonius. Polonius is making it clear that he does not believe Hamlet to be insane, and he is in fact able to recognize when he is being insulted, but he is uncertain as to why. If this were spoken by Hamlet, it would make a good deal more sense, in consideration of the severity of Hamlet’s madness. However, because it is spoken by Polonius and not Hamlet, there is no intended underlying meaning; he simply points out that he sees the method behind Hamlet’s feigned madness and knows that Hamlet is insulting him. Hamlet feigning madness is an example of the theme appearance vs. reality, and it foreshadows Hamlet’s eventual not so feigned madness.
For there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so Hamlet to Rosencrantz: In act 2 scene 2, Hamlet is speaking to Rosencrantz, as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, former school friends of Hamlet, have just arrived at his home. Rosencrantz is wondering why Hamlet refers to Denmark as a prison; he believes that it is simply Hamlet’s ambition that makes it so. Hamlet is firmly planted in his idea that something is not inherently good or bad, and he goes as far as to refute the idea that there are things that are absolutely “good” and absolutely “bad.” Hamlet does not explain why Denmark is his prison; he only emphasizes that if he feels that it is a prison, then it must be one, and if Rosencrantz feels that it isn’t one, than it isn’t. Ultimately, Hamlet is suggesting that multiple realities can and do exist, despite how a situation appears to be (appearance vs. reality). His rejection of reality highlights his downward spiral into madness.
*For the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream *Rosencrantz to Hamlet: In act 2 scene 2, Rosencrantz is speaking to Hamlet, after Hamlet has made plain that he sees Denmark as a horrid prison. Rosencrantz suggests that the reason Denmark is his prison is that the borders of the state are “too narrow” for his ambition. When he makes the above assertion, Rosencrantz is saying that a dream becomes ambition once work or action is set in motion to obtain that dream. The metaphor referring to ambition as “the shadow of a dream” could also mean that ambition may cloud the vision of or interfere with a dream that a person may have, essentially preventing said dream from ever becoming something more concrete than just a shadow. Rosencrantz makes evident that he believes that dreams are the foundation of ambition which is the foundation for success.
A dream itself is but a shadow Hamlet to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: Hamlet is speaking to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern after being reunited with them and welcoming them to Elsinore. This quote is in response to Guildenstern’s quote #16. Dreams recur in Hamlet. In his “to be or not to be” soliloquy, he says “to sleep, perchance to dream” and mentions dreams throughout the play. Earlier in this scene Hamlet remarks that he considers Denmark to be a prison, and that he considers himself a “king of infinite space” if not for the fact that he has bad dreams.
*The play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king *Hamlet Soliloquy: In Hamlet’s soliloquy that closes Act II scene 2, he makes two important points: first, that the spirit which appeared to him may be a devil, and second, that he can prove the spirit’s veracity based upon the king’s reaction to his play. He recognizes well that spirits have often been the source of malicious intent, and decides that he cannot act upon its words until he is sure that Claudius is guilty. So, he decides to stage this play and watch the king to be “struck so to the soul that presently [he might] proclaim [his] malefactions.” Hamlet wants to determine both the reality of the ghost, and the reality of Claudius’s guilt—both of which can be accomplished through this play.
*To be or not to be, that is the question *Hamlet soliloquy: This quote in Hamlet’s soliloquy of Act II scene 2 questions the veracity of life after death. He has two choices: to endure fortune and its blows, accepting Claudius’s actions and leaving him to his own fate, or to rise against fortune and damn himself forever after. The very appearance of his father as a ghost throws Hamlet into turmoil, since its appearance would hint at the possibility of heaven or hell; but the ghost presents no clarification and instead asks him to doom himself by taking vengeance. Death by fortune or death by arms—this is one of many decisions facing Hamlet as he decides upon his action or non-action.
Madness in great ones must not unwatched go Claudius to Polonious: In this scene 1 of Act III, Claudius is speaking warily to Polonius. He is scared to think of what Hamlet is capable of; and madness in a prince represents a huge threat to his authority, because madness in a prince is madness in a place of power (theme: madness). Claudius also recognizes Hamlet’s popularity and therefore how much more power he holds. For whatever decision Hamlet may make, mad or no, he has power backing him; and the idea that Hamlet might be onto him poses an even greater threat. And so, Claudius resolves to watch Hamlet closely so that he cannot be a threat to his own majesty—or to send him away and see what may come.
But the dread of something after death/the undiscovered country from whose bourn? no traveler returns, puzzles the will/ and makes us bear those ills we have/Than fly to others we know not of Hamlet Soliloquy: Hamlet in Act 3 scene 1 in his soliloquy describes the fear of what comes after death as the downside to commiting suicide. Shakespeare wrote this to describe the thoughts that now England is now protestant and people do not know what comes after death. In the catholic church, there was heaven and hell, but now people are unclear as to what happens after death. Shakespeare writes about this uncertainty through Hamlet’s uncertainty to take action or not to take action. The theme here is reason vs. emotion. Hamlet is depressed that his father was murdered and that his mother was so quick to remarry as if she never loved old Hamlet. Emotionally, Hamlet just wants to die, but logically he builds the argument that whatever happens after death might be worse than his sufferings now. This logically argument of fear of what happens after death outweighs his emotional argument and keeps his from committing suicide.
Then there’s hope a great man’s memory may outlive his life half a year Hamlet to Ophelia: Hamlet is speaking before the play begins to Ophelia about his mother remarrying so quickly. He sarcastically remarks that a great leader like his father should be remembered for at least six months. In 1600s, if someone died, the close family members mourned and wore black for 6 months to a year depending on how close they were to the deceased. And being that his father was the king, it should be longer than that. However, Hamlet announces in front of all his family and their close friends how proper etiquette was not followed. He calls out his mother for looking too happy during the supposed time of mourning which is not up yet. Hamlet uses sarcasm to joke about his mother’s lack of faithfullness to his father in remarrying during the time of mourning and infact to his uncle. Hamlet makes everyone feel uncomfortable because they know proper etiquette was not followed yet no one still mourns old Hamlet nor do they object to the incestuous marriage. Hamlet rebukes no only his mother’s betrayal in his eyes but also everyone present for forgetting so quickly about his father who was such a selfless and respected king.
The lady doth protest too much Gertrude to Hamlet: During the play within the play, it is evident how internal tensions are arising in Claudius as his guilt and conscience began to uncover from their hiding place. As the Player Queen promises her love to the Player King, Gertrude’s guilt also begins to uncover itself. These words that she utters when he asks her how she is enjoying the play serve as a shield and protection to her “faulty” innocence and purity. By criticizing the Player Queen, she tries to separate herself from those qualities while knowing she can parallel with that character all too well.
You do surely bar the door upon your own liberty, if you deny your grief’s to your friends Rosencrantz to Hamlet: In Rosencrantz’s words to Hamlet there is a train of disloyalty. Once again the theme of appearance versus reality is shown through this disloyalty. Beginning with Hamlet, he is showing difficulty in trusting his “friend” Rosencrantz through his unwilling to release what is on his heart. Rosencrantz is trying to manipulate Hamlet by deceiving him to think he can be trusted with any information Hamlet gives, thereby tainting his loyalty as a friend. There is also irony and equivocation in the word “friend” seeing that Rosencrantz is involved in Claudius’s plan to murder Hamlet. Claudius is at the end of the train of disloyalty. He has Rosencrantz trusting and serving him though he is sinful and evil on the inside of him due to his incestuous act and his killing his brother. He is the source of the problem they are trying to fix, Hamlet’s madness.
My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen/May one be pardoned and retain the offense? Claudius alone in prayer: Claudius’ soliloquy stems from his gloomy introspection of his morality and actions. Having renewed his memory and guilt of his murder through the ploy Hamlet sets in the play, Claudius battles with the ideas of will versus desire and consequently shows his lack of strong personal agency for repentance. In wanting to maintain the fruits of his crime, Claudius essentially foreshadows his damnation in the minds of the Elizabethans by showing that he is unwilling to cleanse his sins.
*You’ll not go till i set you up a glass where you may see the inmost part of you *Hamlet to Gertrude: Hamlet is forcefully speaking his mother Gertrude in response to having been summoned to her chamber. This scene and quotation is vital in showing Hamlet’s first, true confrontation with his mother about his suspicions of her immorality, which he has pondered in his mind for so long. While the need for introspection as shown by the image of the glass suggests Gertrude’s conflict between appearance and reality, the quotation more importantly questions what constitutes madness: Hamlet’s depression and determination, or Gertrude’s drastic and oblivious attitude toward her morality.
*I must be cruel, only to be kind *Hamlet to Gertrude: Hamlet’s parting statement from his confrontation with his mother evinces another facet of the recurring theme of revenge. Hamlet’s derision of Gertrude for her betrayal of old Hamlet and her immorality is simply another element of his plan to avenge his father’s death. He not only attacks Claudius for committing the crime, but also Gertrude for allowing Claudius’ success. This way, he sees Gertrude as simply an accomplice of Claudius. In the point of view of the avenger, Hamlet’s “cruel” tactics are necessary to obtain his honorable, virtuous, and thus “nice” revenge.
*This man shall set me packing *Hamlet to Gertrude: [Hamlet to Queen] Hamlet is addressing his murder of Polonius, that his troubles have finialized his trip. One aspect that is worthy of note is his continued indifference toward murder. It is one instance that foreshadows the result of Hamlet’s dilemma in his soliloquy (to be, or not to be…), the destructive end of Hamlet’s decision. His words tie to the theme of corruption (both inside and outside Hamlet). Hamlet’s decision. His words tie to the theme of corruption (both inside and outside Hamlet).
*Suit the action to the word, the word to the action *Hamlet to actors: Hamlet coaches the player about how to precisely perform his part during the play. The minute details of the act are crucial, as Hamlet intends for this play to be an indicator to prove Claudius’ guilt. His desire for absolute certainty of Claudius’ culpability explains why he wants align the appearance of the actors with the reality of the play’s subject. By equalizing words with actions, Hamlet attempts to reveal truth.
The cat will mew, and the dog will have his day Hamlet to Claudius and Gertrude: Hamlet confronts Laertes, as the hostility between them heightens when propelled by Ophelia’s death. By stating that no great power of man, not even that of Hercules, can change the most fundamental nature of beings, Hamlet comments on the inflexible theme of identity. This fixated principle explains many major points in the play including Claudius’ inability to repent for his sins, Gertrude’s weakness in expressing herself, and perhaps even Hamlet’s madness.
*There’s a divinity that shapes our ends *Hamlet to Horatio: Hamlet speaks to Horatio about how there exists greater powers in the world which trump our individual decisions and ultimately decide our fates. In a way, this quote represents a turning point for Hamlet, as has taken a step back from his focused attitude of revenge to examine his path in life. For once in the play, we see the more mature side of Hamlet, as he begins to expand his worldview to encompass greater forces than his own.