Hamlet Quotations

This above all: to think own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. Speaker: PoloniusContext: Polonius is talking to his son Laertes about how he must be when he is in France.Significance: These lines reveal the theme of appearance versus reality. Later on the book Polonius asks Reynaldo if he could spy on Laertes. It also is a double standard towards Laertes. He says, “Thou canst not then be false to any man, when he is spying on Laertes.
“Seems,” madam? Nay, it is. I know not “seems,” ‘Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother, Nor customary suits of solemn black, Nor windy suspiration of forced breath, No nor the fruitful river in the eye, Nor the dejected havior of the visage, Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief, That can denote me truly. These indeed “seem,” For they are actions that a man might play; But I have that within which passes show, These but the trappings and the suits of woe. Speaker: HamletContext: Hamlet is speaking to his mother and his uncle/stepfather about why he is sad.Significance: This is significant for two reasons: These lines show the theme appearance versus reality; secondly this makes the fact known of how much Hamlet respected his father and the strong connection they had.
O that this too, too sullied flesh would melt, Thaw and resolve itself into a dew, Or that the Everlasting had not fixed His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God, God, How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world! Fie on ‘t ah fie! ‘Tis an unweeded garden That grows to seed. Things ranked and gross in nature Possess it merely. That it should come to this: But two months dead – nay, not so much, not two. So excellent a king, that was to this Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother That he might not beteem the winds of heaven Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth, Must I remember? Why would she hang on him As if increase of appetite had grown By what it fed on. And yet, within a month (Let me not think on ‘t; frailty, thy name is woman!) A little month, or ere those shoes were old With which she followed my poor father’s body, Like Niobe, all tears – why she, even she (O God, a beast that wants discourse of reason Would have mourned longer!), married with my uncle, My father’s brother, but no more like my father than I to Hercules. Within a month, Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears Had left the flushing in her gallèd eyes, She married. O, most wicked speed, to post With such dexterity to incestuous sheets! It is not, not it cannot come to good. But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue. Speaker: HamletContext: Hamlet is talking to himself about his mother and her mourning process.Significance: These lines reveal Hamlet’s stuggle with his father’s death and his mother’s new marriage. He wanted her to mourn longer than two months. This shows the theme of obsession and resentment.
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Speaker: MarcellusContext: Marcellus is portending the coming of a dark place for Denmark.Significance: These lines reveal a foreshadowing of the rot of Denmark.
Now, Hamlet, hear. ‘Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard, A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark Is by a forgèd process of my death Rankly abused. Speaker: Ghost of King HamletContext: King Hamlet tells his son Hamlet how he died.Significance: King Hamlet later tells his son about how the uncle had killed him to get the crown. These lines develop the theme of appearance versus reality.
(As I perchance hereafter shall think meet To put an antic disposition on) Speaker: HamletContext: Hamlet is talking to Horatio and the others about what he will do.Significance: These lines show the developing theme of appearance versus reality. Hamlet will act like he is mad but in reality he is going to be totally sane. Although, throughout the book, he loses his grasp of reality and really does go mad.
Though this here be madness, yet there is method in ‘t. Speaker: PoloniusContext: Polonius is talking to himself about Hamlet.Significance: These lines may show that Polonius might have had a hunch that there was a method to Hamlet’s madness. Polonius might have known Hamlet was hiding something, which if Polonius cracked the puzzle, Hamlet might have had to take off his mask and walk into the light of his true self.
Ay, so good-bye to you.Now I am alone, O, 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 conceit That from her working all his visage wanned, Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect, A broken voice, and his whole function suiting With forms to his conceit – and all for nothing! For Hecuba! What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba, That he should weep for her? What would he do Had he the motive and the cue for passion That I have? He would drown the stage with tears And cleave the general ear with horrid speech, Make mad the guilty and appall the free, Confound the ignorant and amaze indeed the very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I, a dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause, And can say nothing – no, not for a king Upon whose property and most dear life A damned defeat was made. Am I a coward? Speaker: HamletContext: Hamlet is talking to himself about his cowardice.Significance: ????????
The spirit that I have seen May be a devil, and the devil hath power T’ assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps, Out of my weakness and my melancholy, As he is very potent with such spirits, Abuses me to damn me. I’ll have grounds More relative than this. Speaker: HamletContext: Hamlet to himself about his alleged “Father’s ghost.”Significance: Hamlet wants to see if Claudius is hiding that he killed King Hamlet by using the play. These lines reveal the developing theme of revealing Claudius’s deception.
The play’s the thing Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King. Speaker: HamletContext: Hamlet to himself about his alleged “Father’s ghost.”Significance: These lines reveal the developing theme of Claudius’s deception.
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 heartache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to – ’tis a consummation Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep – To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay there’s the rub, For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause. There’s the respect That makes calamity of so long life. For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely, The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay, The insolence of office, and the spurns That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes, When he himself might his quietus make With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear, To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death, the undiscovered country from whose bourn No traveler returns, puzzles the will And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of? 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. Speaker: HamletContext: Hamlet is considering suicide by himself.Significance: These lines develop the theme of appearance versus reality. He doesn’t know what would seem more noble or what would seem not noble at all.
Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? Speaker: HamletContext: Hamlet is talking to Ophelia about his amount of love for her.Significance: These lines reveal Hamlet’s struggle with women and what they do to men. Hamlet is obsessed with Ophelia and his mother’s personal lives.
O, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown! The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword, Th’ expectancy and rose of the fair state, The glass of fashion and the mold of form, Th’ observed of all observers, quite, quite down! Speaker: OpheliaContext: Ophelia is talking to herself about Hamlet’s insanity.Significance: Deception seems to be working in Hamlet’s favour.