Significant Hamlet Quotes

I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers could not with all their quantity of love make up my sum. (V, i, 270+) Hamlet. Spoken to Laertes at Ophelia’s graveside in Act V.
Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet. (V, ii, 324) Laertes. Spoken to Hamlet before he dies from the wound he received from the poisoned sword in Act V.
A little more than kin, and less than kind! (I, ii, 68) Hamlet. Directed to Claudius. Hamlet’s first line in the play (Act I).
Frailty, thy name is woman!A little month, or ere those shoes were oldWith which she followed my poor father’s body… (I, ii, 52+) Hamlet. Spoken in his first soliloquy immediately following his first on-stage interaction with Claudius and Gertrude (Act I).
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 own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. (I, iii, 79+) Polonius. Giving advice to Laertes before he returns to school in Paris.
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. (I, iv, 100) Marcellus. He speaks this line in Act I after the ghost of the dead king appears, walking over the palace walls.
This time is out of joint. O cursed spite /That ever I was born to set it right! (I, v, 215) Hamlet. Spoken at the end of Act I in the presence of Horatio and Marcellus, immediately after Hamlet makes them swear not to tell anyone that they have seen the king’s ghost.
…since brevity is the soul of wit, And tedioiusness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief. Your noble son is mad. Mad call it it; for to define true madness What is’t but to be nothing else but mad? (II, ii, 96+) Polonius. Spoken to Gertrude and Claudius after Ophelia confides in Polonius about Hamlet’s bizarre behavior.
What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! In form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! In apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world, the paragon of animals!…Man delights not me– no, nor woman neither… (II, ii, 319+) Hamlet. Spoken to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern soon after their surprise arrival at Elsinore in Act II.
The play’s the thingWherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King. (II, ii, 612+) Hamlet. Spoken alone in soliloquy after he has met with the players.
To be, or not to be, that is the question: (III, i, 64) Hamlet. Spoken in soliloquy immediately before Claudius and Polonius plan to spy on Hamlet’s interaction with Ophelia (Act III).
Get thee to a nunnery! (III, i, 126) Hamlet. Spoken to Ophelia in Act III while Claudius and Polonius spy on them.
Madness in great ones must not unwatched go. (III, i, 189) Claudius. Spoken to Polonius (Ophelia present) after he and Polonius spied on Hamlet and Ophelia’s interaction.
The funeral baked meats did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables. (I, ii, 179+) Hamlet. Spoken to Horatio during their first on-stage interaction in Act I.
For your intent In going back to school in Wittenberg, It is most retrograde to our desire: And we beseech you, bend you to remain Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye, Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.(I, ii, 112+) Claudius. Spoken to Hamlet during the first on-stage conversation they share in Act I.
But to persevereIn obstinate condolement is a courseOf impious stubbornness, ’tis unmanly grief.(I, ii, 93+) Claudius. Spoken to Hamlet during the first on-stage conversation they share in Act I.
If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not; Let not the royal bed of Denmark be A couch for luxury and damned incest. But, howsoever thou pursuest this act, Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive Against thy mother aught: leave her to heaven And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge, To prick and sting her.(I, v, 81+) Ghost of dead King Hamlet. Spoken to Hamlet during their first meeting in Act I.
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 puff ‘d and reckless libertine, Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads, And recks not his own rede.(I, iii, 45+) Ophelia. Spoken in response to Laertes’ advice regarding her love life.
What art thou that usurp’st this time of night, Together with that fair and warlike form In which the majesty of buried Denmark Did sometimes march? by heaven I charge thee, speak!(I, i, 44+) Horatio. Upon seeing King Hamlet’s ghost for the first time.
O my prophetic soul! My uncle! (I, v, 41) Hamlet. The prince’s response to finding out his uncle murdered his father.
Oh, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven. (III, iii, 37) Claudius. Spoken in soliloquy immediately following the players’ performance.
Call me what instrument you will, though you canFret me, you cannot play upon me.(III, ii, 393+) Hamlet. Spoken to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern after their attempts to get him to confide in them.
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all; And thus the native hue of resolution Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought, And enterprises of great pitch and moment With this regard their currents turn awry, And lose the name of action.(III, i, 84+) Hamlet. Spoken at the end of the “to be, or not to be” soliloquy in Act III, right before he notices Ophelia entering the room.
O, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown! The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword; The expectancy and rose of the fair state, The glass of fashion and the mould of form, The observed of all observers, quite, quite down! Ophelia. Spoken in soliloquy in Act III immediately following Hamlet’s exit.
My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to heaven go.(III, iii, 98+) Claudius. In soliloquy right after he has attempted to pray for forgiveness in Act III.
Nothing but to show you how a king may go a progress through the guts of a beggar.(IV, iii, 31+) Hamlet. Spoken in response to Claudius’ question: “What do you mean?” Claudius is drilling Hamlet about the whereabouts of Polonius’ body and Hamlet is toying with him.
Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay, Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.O, that the earth which kept the world in aweShould patch a wall t’ expel the winter’s flaw.(V, i, 93) Hamlet. Spoken to Horatio in the graveyard after holding the exhumed skull of dead court jester, Yorick.
And so have I a noble father lost; A sister driven into desperate terms, Whose worth, if praises may go back again, Stood challenger on mount of all the age For her perfections: but my revenge will come.(IV, vii, 25). Laertes. Spoken to Claudius as the two of them are hatching their plan to destroy Hamlet.
Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.(V, ii, 358+) Horatio. Spoken to Hamlet in the moments following his death.
For he was likely, had he been put on, To have proved most royally: and, for his passage, The soldiers’ music and the rites of war Speak loudly for him.(V, ii, 399) Fortinbras. Spoken of Hamlet upon his arrival at Elsinore, immediately following the death of all but Horatio.