Hamlet Quotes

“But what is your affair in Elsinore? We’ll teach you to drink deep ere you depart.” HamletHamlet to Horatio who is in town for Hamlet senior’s funeral”He is asking why he has come, and he will teach him to drink hard before he leaves.”
“Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral baked meats did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables. Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven or ever I had seen that day, Horatio! My father – methinks I see my father.” HamletHamlet to Horatio after discussing his mother’s fast marriage with him”It’s all about saving money. The leftovers from the funeral were perfect for the wedding banquet. I’d rather face my worst enemy rather than relive that day. I believe I see my father.”
“If it assume my noble father’s person, I’ll speak to it though hell itself should gape and bid me hold my peace. I pray you all, if you have hitherto concealed this sight, let it be tenable in your silence still, and whatsoever else shall hap to night, and give it an understanding but no tongue. I will requite your loves. So, fare you well. Upon the platform, ‘twixt eleven and twelve i’ll visit you.” HamletHamlet to Horatio, Marcello, and Bernardo after learning that they have seen his father’s ghost”If it looks like my father, I will speak to it, even if hell opens up and tells me not too. Please keep this a secret, whatever happens tonight we don’t speak of, i’ll see you at eleven and twelve.”
“My father’s spirit in arms? All is not well! I doubt some foul play. Would the night were come! Till then sit still, my soul.” HamletHamlet to Himself”My father’s ghost is armed? Something is not right, I suspect foul play! If only it were already night, but until then I must remain calm.”
“For Hamlet and the trifling of his favor, hold it a fashion and a toy in blood, A violet in the youth of primy nature, forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting, the perfume of a minute, no more.” LaertesLaertes to Ophelia in an attempt to keep Hamlet from taking advantage of his sister. He doesn’t want her to have sex with him, because she will be blemished.”As for Hamlet and his attentions to you, just consider it a big flirtation, the temporary phase of a hot-blooded youth. It won’t last. It’s sweet, but his affection will fade after a minute. Not a second more.”
“I shall the effect of this good lesson keep as watchman to my heart. But, good my brother, 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.” OpheliaOphelia to Laertes after he warns her not to have sex with Hamlet, while she tells him not to be a hypocrite because Laertes is most likely having pre-marital sex as well”I’ll keep your words of wisdom close to my heart. But, my dear brother, don’t be like a bad priest who fails to practice what he preaches, showing me the steep and narrow way to heaven while you frolic on the primrose path of sin.”
“Yet here, Laertes? Aboard, aboard, for shame! The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail, and you are stayed for. There – my blessing with thee, and these few percepts in thy memory see thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue, nor any unproportioned thought his act. Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, grapple them to thy soul with hopes of steel, but do not dull thy palm with entertainment of each new hatched, unfledged comrade. Beware of entrance to a quarrel, but being in, bear it that the opposed may beware of thee. Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice. Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, but not expressed in fancy; Rich, not gaudy, for the apparel oft proclaims the man. Neither a borrower nor a lender be, For loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. This above all, to thine ownself be true, And it must follow as the night the day thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell. My blessing season this in thee!” Polonius Polonius to Laertes giving him a lot of advice before he goes on his trip”You’re still here? Shame on you—get on board! The wind is filling your ship’s sail, and they’re waiting for you. Here, I give you my blessing again. And just try to remember a few rules of life. Listen more than you talk; don’t borrow or lend money; don’t blind yourself out; And, above all, be true to yourself. Then you won’t be false to anybody else. Good-bye, son. I hope my blessing will help you absorb what I’ve said.”
“This business is well ended. My liege and madam, to expostulate what majesty should be, what duty is, why day is day, night night, and time is time, were nothing but to waste night, day and time. Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit, and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief. Your noble son is mad. Mad call I it, to define true madness, what is it but to be nothing else but mad. But let that go.” PoloniousPolonious to Claudius and Gertrude claiming he has found the source of Hamlet’s madness; driven mad by love for Ophelia”Well, that turned out well in the end. Sir and madam, to make grand speeches about what majesty is, what service is, or why day is day, night is night, and time is time is just a waste of a lot of day, night, and time. Therefore, since the essence of wisdom is not talking too much, I’ll get right to the point here. Your son is crazy. “Crazy” I’m calling it, since how can you say what craziness is except to say that it’s craziness? But that’s another story.”
“More matter, with less art.” Queen GertrudeGertrude to Polonious “Get to the point”
“Madam, I swear I use no art at all. That he is mad, ’tis true ’tis pity; and pity ’tis ’tis true – a foolish figure. But farewell it, for I will use no art. Mad let us grant him then, and now remains that we find out the cause of this effect – or rather say, the cause of this defect, for this effect defective comes by cause. Thus it remains, and the remainder thus. Perpend. I have a daughter who in her duty and obedience hath given me this. Now gather, and surmise.” PoloniusPolonius to Claudius and Gertrude, he reads the love letters given to Ophelia by Hamlet to back up his conclusion that Hamlet is driven mad by love for Ophelia”Madam, I’m doing nothing but sticking to the point. It’s true he’s crazy, and it’s a shame it’s true, and it’s truly a shame he’s crazy—but now I sound foolish, so I’ll get right to the point. Now, if we agree Hamlet’s crazy, then the next step is to figure out the cause of this effect of craziness, or I suppose I should say the cause of this defect, since this defective effect is caused by something. This is what we must do, and that’s exactly what needs to be done. Think about it. I have a daughter who gave me these, now listen and tell me what you think.”
“Now I am alone.Oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!Is it not monstrous that this player here,But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,Could force his soul so to his own conceitThat from her working all his visage wanned,Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect,A broken voice, and his whole function suitingWith forms to his conceit? And all for nothing—For Hecuba!What’s Hecuba to him or he to HecubaThat he should weep for her? What would he doHad he the motive and the cue for passionThat I have? He would drown the stage with tearsAnd cleave the general ear with horrid speech,Make mad the guilty and appall the free,Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeedThe very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I,A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peakLike John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,And can say nothing—no, not for a king,Upon whose property and most dear lifeA damned defeat was made. Am I a coward?Who calls me “villain”? Breaks my pate across?Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?Tweaks me by the nose? Gives me the lie i’ th’ throatAs deep as to the lungs? Who does me this?Ha!’Swounds, I should take it, for it cannot beBut I am pigeon-livered and lack gallTo make oppression bitter, or ere thisI should have fatted all the region kitesWith this slave’s offal. Bloody, bawdy villain!Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!O vengeance!Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,That I, the son of a dear father murdered,Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,Must, like a *****, unpack my heart with wordsAnd fall a-cursing like a very drab,A scullion! Fie upon ‘t, foh!About, my brain.—Hum, I have heardThat guilty creatures sitting at a playHave, by the very cunning of the scene,Been struck so to the soul that presentlyThey have proclaimed their malefactions.For murder, though it have no tongue, will speakWith most miraculous organ. I’ll have these playersPlay something like the murder of my fatherBefore mine uncle. I’ll observe his looks.I’ll tent him to the quick. If he do blench,I know my course. The spirit that I have seenMay be the devil, and the devil hath powerT’ assume a pleasing shape. Yea, and perhapsOut of my weakness and my melancholy,As he is very potent with such spirits,Abuses me to damn me. I’ll have groundsMore relative than this. The play’s the thingWherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.” HamletHamlet to Himself after speaking with the actors from the play, deciding that he is going to re-inact the murder of his father in front of Claudius to see if he is guilty or not”The actor can make people laugh and cry and move them to tears, yet here I am with nothing planned to move forward with my revenge. Am I a coward? My father’s been murdered and all i’ve done for revenge is stand around and curse. I’ve heard that guilty people watching plays about acts they’ve committed have fessed up. I’ll have the actors perform the murder of my father in front of my uncle, and see if he is affected by it. I need better evidence, and this play is the key.”
“To be or not to be – that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them. To die, to sleep – no more – And by a sleep to say we end the heart ache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.” HamletHamlet to Himself pondering whether it is worth it to live through the hard times, or to just end it with death. He ponders the effects if the dreams he sees will be nightmares, and the risk of the unknown. The unknowing of it all that causes us to put on a brave face through the battles we face, instead of end it all simply.
“Get thee to a nunnery. Wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious, With more offenses than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in. What should such fellows as I do crawling between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves all; believe none of us. Go thy ways to a nunnery. Where’s your father?” HamletHamlet to Ophelia after she returns his love letters, and he claims he never wrote them and that he never loved her. “Get yourself to a convent. Why would you want to give birth to more sinners? I could accuse myself of such horrible crimes it would have been better if my mother never gave birth to me. Get to a convent. Where’s your father?”
“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” GertrudeGertrude to Hamlet while she watches the play”The lady talks too much, I think.”
“Tis now the very witching time of night, When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood, and do such bitter business as the day would quake to look on. Soft! Now to my mother. O heart, lose not thy nature; let not ever the soul of Nero enter this firm bosom. Let me be cruel, not unnatural. I will speak daggers to her, but use none.” HamletHamlet to Himself after presenting his play to his mother and Claudius “This is the time of night when witches come out, when graveyards yawn open and the stench of hell seeps out. I could drink hot blood and do such terrible deeds that people would tremble even in the daylight. But I’ve got to go see my mother.—Oh, heart, don’t grow weak, likeNERONero was a Roman emperor known for his extreme cruelty.Nero Let me be cruel, but not inhuman. I will speak as sharp as a dagger to her, but use none.”
“Now might I do it pat, now he is praying, and now I’ll do it. And so he goes to heaven, and so am I revenged. That would be scanned.” HamletHamlet to Himself when he realizes that Claudius is praying, and in their religion that means that Claudius would be wiped clean of his sins and sent to heaven.
“My words fly up, my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to heaven go.” ClaudiusClaudius to Himself after praying to be repented of the sins of his brother’s murder”Even after I pray, my thoughts of my act remain with me. I cannot go to heaven if I cannot forget.”
“What wilt thou do? thou wilt not murder me? help, help, ho! GertrudeGertrude to Hamlet after he attacks her verbally for marrying her dead husband’s brother, while in the process killing Claudius.”What will you do, you won’t kill me will you?”
“Such an act that blurs the grace and blush of modesty, calls virtue hypocrite, Tales off the rose from the fair forehead of an innocent love and sets a blister there, Makes marriage vows as false as dicers’ oaths.” HamletHamlet to Gertrude continuing his verbal attack on her remarriage”A deed that destroys modesty, turns virtue into hypocrisy, replaces the blossom on the face of true love with a nasty blemish, makes marriage vows as false as a gambler’s oath—oh, you’ve done a deed that plucks the soul out of marriage and turns religion into meaningless blather. Heaven looks down on this earth, as angry as if Judgment Day were here, and is sick at the thought of what you’ve done.”
“Ay me, what act, that roars so loud?” Gertrude Gertrude to Hamlet attempting to defend herself”What is the deed that is so awful?”
“O Hamlet, speak no more. Thou turn’s t mine eyes into my very soul, And there I see such black and grained spots as will not leave their tinct.” GertrudeGertrude to Hamlet when she can’t take anymore of his interrogating “Hamlet, please stop. You are forcing me to look at my sins that will never be washed away.”
“Nay, but to live in the rank sweat of an en-seamed bed, Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love over the nasty sty-“ HamletHamlet to Gertrude after she tries to defend herself”No, but you choose to live and make love to your husband’s brother, when it is wrong and nasty.”
“Not where he eats, but where he is eaten.” HamletHamlet to Claudius when Claudius asks of the location of Polonious’s body”Describing the cycle of life, calling Claudius a piece of poop.”
“By Gis and by Saint Charity, Alack and fie for shame! Young men will do’t, if they come to’t; By cock, they are to blame. Quoth she, before you tumbled me, You promised me to wed. SO would I have done, by yonder son, An thou hadst not come to my bed” OpheliaOphelia’s wandering around the palace singing this”A song about how to get a girl into bed, by promising you’ll marry her. Then not marrying her, because she is no longer a virgin.”
“Let this be so. His means of death, his obscure funeral cry to be heard, as ’twere from heaven to earth, That I must call it in question.” LaertesLaertes to Claudius speaking of his father’s murder”All right, then. The way he died, his secret funeral, no funeral rites or military display, no noble rites or formal ceremony—shout out from heaven and earth that I must call the way he died into question.”
“Alas, she has drowned. Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia, and therefore I forbid my tears.” Laertes Laertes to Claudius and Gertrude” Calls himself a woman for crying over his sister’s death, and leaves the room.”
“What is he whose grief bares such an emphasis, Whose phase of sorrow conjures the wandering stars, and makes them stand like wonder-wounded hearers? This is I, Hamlet the Dane” HamletHamlet to the people in the cemetery after learning it was Ophelia that had died
“I am satisfied, and I do receive your offered love like love, and will not wrong it.” LaertesLaertes to Hamlet before their fencing match, when Hamlet apologizes for the murder of Polonious
“O, I die, Horatio! The potent poison quote over-crows my spirit. I cannot live to hear the news from England, but I do prophesy the election lights on Fortinbras. He has my dying voice. The rest is silence.” HamletHamlet to Horatio as he takes his last breaths”Horatio, I am dying. The poison is killing me. I won’t be able to hear the news from England, but I would bet that Fortinbras would win the election.”
“Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet Prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” HoratioHoratio to Hamlet as he dies”My heart is breaking, rest in peace hamlet. Let the angels take you peacefully to heaven.”