Categories: wonder, sarcasm, seriousness, flippancy, condescension, guilt, despair, suspicion, insinuation, conscience. Choose a category to see only quotes with that category. Or, view all quotes.
#1 — 1.1.50 — wonder, sarcasm
Bernardo Looks it not like the King? Mark it, Horatio.
Horatio Most like. It harrows me with fear and wonder.
Here Horatio provides Bernardo confirmation that the ghost exists, and exclaims his own awe at the apparition, imparting the same upon the reader.
#2 — 1.1.139 — wonder, seriousness
Horatio I’ll cross it though it blast me.—Stay illusion!
This quote gives the first hint of the theme of insanity throughout the play — Horatio is prepared to find out what the ghost is no matter what, seemingly almost to the point of mania.
#3 — 1.1.175 — wonder
Marcellus This 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 hallowed and so gracious is the time.
Marcellus gives a powerful description of the aura surrounding the beginning of winter, tying in the ghost’s disappearance with a common belief about the source of peace and silence.
#4 — 1.2.79 — sarcasm, seriousness
Hamlet “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.
This quote expands Hamlet’s character and provides some insight into his feelings; he seems to be depressed by the complexity of his thoughts of recent events.
#5 — 1.2.93 — seriousness, flippancy
King But you must know your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound
In filial obligation for some term
To do obsequious sorrow. But to persever
In obstinate condolement is a course
Of impious stubbornness.
King Claudius gives Hamlet concise advice about his father’s death. The brevity of this response indicates that the King may not really care (which is confirmed later in the play in the revelation that Claudius killed King Hamlet), and that he would rather put those events behind him and focus on his reign as King.
#6 — 1.2.150 — seriousness
Hamlet Let me not think on ’t; frailty, thy name is woman!
This quote reflects both Hamlet’s frustration with his own emotions and his classification thereof as a femenine quality.
#7 — 1.2.197 — wonder, seriousness
Horatio My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
Hamlet Saw who?
Horatio My lord, the King your father.
Hamlet The King my father?
Horatio Season your admiration for a while
With an attent ear, till I may deliver
Upon the witness of these gentlemen
This marvel to you.
Hamlet’s reaction here illustrates in context that he has been distracted by thoughts of his father, and is jarred by Horatio’s mention of him. This confusion turns not immediately to disbelief but to hope.
#8 — 1.2.250 — wonder, sarcasm
Hamlet And fixed his eyes upon you?
Horatio Most constantly.
Horatio’s formal-sounding response to Hamlet’s clarification has the interesting effect of making almost implying he made up the story of the ghost.
#9 — 1.2.277 — seriousness
Hamlet 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. Foul deeds will rise,
Though all the earth o’erwhelm them, to men’s eyes.
Hamlet begins to grow more worried here, but soon comforts himself, in contrast to other episodes in his seeming madness where he does not calm down quite so readily.
#10 — 1.3.22 — seriousness, condescension
Laertes He may not, as unvalued persons do,
Carve for himself, for on his choice depends
The safety and health of this whole state.
And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
Unto the voice and yielding of that body
Whereof he is the head.
The contrast between Laertes’s advice to Ophelia and that of Polonius is quite interesting. Laertes, presumably of a similar age to Ophelia, tells her that she should not trust Hamlet because his loyalties are to his duty as Prince. Polonius, on the other hand, later suggests that Hamlet’s love itself is not to be trusted; that he is not in a position to be honest, because young love is not well thought through.
#11 — 1.3.49 — seriousness, condescension
Ophelia 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
And recks not his own rede.
Laertes O, fear me not.
Ophelia takes a warning tone and reminds her brother to follow his own advice and be a good role model. It suggests she might suspect him of having already broken these suggestions.
#12 — 1.3.112 — sarcasm, condescension
Polonius Do you believe his “tenders,” as you call them?
Polonius seems to be calling Ophelia foolish for considering Hamlet’s courtship as honest.
#13 — 1.4.15 — sarcasm
Hamlet Ay, marry, is ’t,
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 speaks about a custom in his society, but also connects the rest of the play using metaphor.
#14 — 1.4.72 — condescension
Hamlet Why, what should be the fear?
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?
It waves me forth again. I’ll follow it.
Hamlet sets off to follow the ghost, proclaiming in essence “What could go wrong?”
#15 — 1.4.99 — seriousness
Horatio Have after. To what issue will this come?
Marcellus Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
This is some foreshadowing about the foul deeds and tragedy to come.
#16 — 1.5.5 — seriousness
Ghost My hour is almost come
When I to sulf’rous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.
The Ghost takes his leave with another reference to destruction.
#17 — 1.5.20 — seriousness, wonder
Ghost I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combinèd locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand an end
Like quills upon the fretful porpentine.
The Ghost speaks of events past with descriptions of their horrific effects.
#18 — 1.5.45 — seriousness, wonder
Ghost But know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father’s life
Now wears his crown.
Hamlet O, my prophetic soul!
Hamlet reacts to the knowledge of how his father died with an exclamation which at the same time suggests that he already had a suspicion that King Claudius was the perpetrator.
#19 — 1.5.113 — seriousness
Hamlet O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain!
My tables—meet it is I set it down
That one may smile and smile and be a villain.
At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark.
Hamlet moves into the phase of anger at his father’s killer. The repetition here emphasizes this.
#20 — 1.5.121 — flippancy
Marcellus Lord Hamlet!
Horatio Heaven secure him!
Hamlet So be it!
Marcellus Illo, ho, ho, my lord!
Hamlet Hillo, ho, ho, boy! Come, bird, come.
Hamlet takes a mocking tone toward his friends when they seek to gather information from him.
#21 — 2.1.19 — flippancy, seriousness
Polonius “And in part him, but,” you may say, “not well.
But if ’t be he I mean, he’s very wild,
Addicted so and so.” And there put on him
What forgeries you please—marry, none so rank
As may dishonour him, take heed of that,
But, sir, such wanton, wild and usual slips
As are companions noted and most known
To youth and liberty.
Polonius advises Reynaldo on how to find Hamlet’s whereabouts.
#22 — 2.1.28 — flippancy, seriousness
Polonius Ay, or drinking, fencing, swearing,
Quarrelling, drabbing—you may go so far.
Reynaldo My lord, that would dishonor him.
Polonius Faith, no, as you may season it in the charge.
Polonius gives Reynaldo directions to find Hamlet which seem overly offensive.
#23 — 2.1.70 — flippancy
Polonius Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth;
Polonius uses a metaphor to suggest how his plan for finding Hamlet will capture the truth.
#24 — 2.1.106 — wonder, seriousness
Ophelia He raised a sigh so piteous and profound
As it did seem to shatter all his bulk
And end his being.
Ophelia recounts Hamlet’s visit to her chamber.
#25 — 2.2.11 — seriousness
King That, being of so young days brought up with him,
And sith so neighbour’d to his youth and havior,
That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
Some little time, so by your companies
To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather,
So much as from occasion you may glean,
Whether aught to us unknown afflicts him thus
That, open’d, lies within our remedy.
King Claudius asks Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to get information from Hamlet for him.
#26 — 2.2.131 — seriousness
Polonius This must be known, which, being kept close, might move
More grief to hide than hate to utter love.
Polonius expresses the need to tell someone about the theory that Hamlet’s madness is love.
#27 — 2.2.35 — flippancy, seriousness
King Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.
Queen Thanks, Guildenstern and gentle Rosencrantz.
The King and Queen thank Guildenstern and Rosencrantz for their help in talking to Hamlet. The repetition here shows how the King and Queen are acting together in this plan.
#28 — 2.2.59 — flippancy, seriousness
Queen I doubt it is no other but the main—
His father’s death and our o’erhasty marriage.
King Well, we shall sift him.
The Queen says she does not think Hamlet’s madness is more than the effect of recent events, but King Claudius is still suspicious of him.
#29 — 2.2.64 — seriousness
Voltimand Most fair return of greetings and desires.
Upon our first, he sent out to suppress
His nephew’s levies, which to him appeared
To be a preparation ’gainst the Polack;
But, better looked into, he truly found
It was against your highness. Whereat, grieved
That so his sickness, age, and impotence
Was falsely borne in hand, sends out arrests
On Fortinbras, which he, in brief, obeys,
Receives rebuke from Norway, and, in fine,
Makes vow before his uncle never more
To give th’ assay of arms against your Majesty.
Voltimand brings news of Fortinbras’s attempted attack on Denmark.
#30 — 2.2.93 — flippancy, seriousness
Polonius 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, for, to define true madness,
What is ’t but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.
Queen More matter, with less art.
Polonius claims to be brief in his introduction to his rant about Hamlet’s madness, but he is in fact wordy, which the Queen notices.
#31 — 2.2.187 — flippancy
Polonius How does my good Lord Hamlet?
Hamlet Well, God-a-mercy.
Polonius Do you know me, my lord?
Hamlet Excellent well; you are a fishmonger.
Polonius approaches Hamlet and begins to question him to assess his madness.
#32 — 2.2.226 — seriousness, wonder
Polonius How pregnant sometimes his replies are! A happiness
that often madness hits on, which reason and sanity
could not so prosperously be delivered of.
I will leave him, and suddenly contrive the means of
meeting between him and my daughter.
Polonius sees Hamlet’s style of response as further indication that he may be going mad.
#33 — 2.2.242 — flippancy
Hamlet My excellent good friends! How dost thou,
Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do
Rosencrantz As the indifferent children of the earth.
Guildenstern Happy, in that we are not overhappy.
On Fortune’s cap we are not the very button.
Hamlet Nor the soles of her shoe?
Rosencrantz Neither, my lord.
Hamlet Then you live about her waist, or in the
middle of her favors?
Guildenstern Faith, her privates we.
Hamlet In the secret parts of Fortune? O, most true!
She is a strumpet.
Guildenstern and Rosencrantz try to avoid making Hamlet suspicious by joking with him.
#34 — 2.2.271 — seriousness
Rosencrantz Why then, your ambition makes it one.
’Tis too narrow for your mind.
Hamlet O God, I could be bounded in a nut shell and
count myself a king of infinite space, were it not
that I have bad dreams.
Guildenstern Which dreams, indeed, are ambition,
for the very substance of the ambitious is merely
the shadow of a dream.
Hamlet A dream itself is but a shadow.
Hamlet begins to loosen up and talk about how he feels constrained and hindered by his thoughts.
#35 — 2.2.413 — flippancy, sarcasm
Polonius My lord, I have news to tell you.
Hamlet My lord, I have news to tell you: when Roscius
was an actor in Rome—
Polonius The actors are come hither, my lord.
Hamlet Buzz, buzz.
Polonius Upon my honor—
Hamlet continues his trend of snubbing Polonius.
#36 — 2.2.427 — flippancy, sarcasm
Hamlet O Jephthah, judge of Israel, what a treasure
Hamlet mocks Polonius and at the same time brings the topic back to Ophelia.
#37 — 2.2.491 — wonder
Polonius ’Fore God, my lord, well spoken, with good
accent and good discretion.
Polonius is shocked by Hamlet’s recitation of part of a speech.
#38 — 2.2.566 — seriousness
Hamlet We’ll ha ’t tomorrow night. You could, for a
need, study a speech of some dozen or sixteen
lines, which I would set down and insert in ’t,
could you not?
Even in Hamlet’s distracted state, he finally manages to begin action against King Claudius.
#39 — 2.2.604 — flippancy, seriousness
Hamlet But I am pigeon-livered and lack gall
To make oppression bitter, or eree this
I shoudl have fatted all the region kites
With this slave’s offal.
Hamlet is ashamed of himself for not being brave enough to kill Claudius.
#40 — 2.2.617 — seriousness
Hamlet Hum, I have heard
That guilty creatures sitting at a play
Have, by the very cunning of the scene,
Been struck so to the soul that presently
They have proclaimed their malefactions.
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ.
Hamlet begins to form a plan to verify that Claudius killed his father.
#41 — 3.1.11 — sarcasm, seriousness
Queen Did he receive you well?
Rosencrantz Most like a gentleman.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern explain Hamlet’s response to their questioning.
#42 — 3.1.26 — sarcasm, condescension
King With all my heart, and it doth much content me
To hear him so inclined.
The King reacts to the information about Hamlet.
#43 — 3.1.56 — guilt
King O, ’tis too true!
How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience.
The harlot’s cheek beautied with plast’ring art,
Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it
Than is my deed to my most painted word.
O heavy burthen!
The King reacts to Polonius’s speech about hiding the truth.
#44 — 3.1.64 — seriousness, guilt
Hamlet 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 wish’d. 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 undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveller 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 pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.
Hamlet remarks on cowardice and suffering.
#45 — 3.1.105 — sarcasm
Hamlet No, not I. I never gave you aught.
Hamlet denies his love letters to Ophelia.
#46 — 3.1.113 — flippancy, sarcasm
Hamlet Ha, ha! are you honest?
Ophelia My lord?
Hamlet Are you fair?
Ophelia What means your lordship?
Hamlet mocks Ophelia before making his attempt to protect her from the events to come.
#47 — 3.1.163 — seriousness, despair
Ophelia 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 mould of form,
Th’ observed of all observers, quite, quite down!
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That sucked the honey of his music vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;
That unmatched form and feature of blown youth
Blasted with ecstasy. O, woe is me
T’ have seen what I have seen, see what I see!
Ophelia laments Hamlet’s descent into madness.
#48 — 3.1.178 — seriousness, suspicion
King There’s something in his soul
O’er which his melancholy sits on brood,
And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose
Will be some danger;
The King doubts Hamlet’s innocence in madness.
#49 — 3.2.9 — flippancy, condescension
Hamlet O, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious,
periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very
rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who for the
most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable
dumb shows and noise. I would have such a fellow
whipped for o’erdoing Termagant. It out-Herods
Herod. Pray you, avoid it.
Hamlet gives advice to the Players before their play to the court.
#50 — 3.2.60 — flippancy, sarcasm, condescension
Hamlet Nay, do not think I flatter,
For what advancement may I hope from thee
That no revenue hast but thy good spirits
To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be flattered?
Hamlet makes a slight mockery of Horatio in his entreatment of him to help uncover the King.
#51 — 3.2.99 — flippancy, sarcasm
Hamlet Excellent, i’ faith; of the chameleon’s dish.
I eat the air, promise-crammed. You cannot feed
King I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet. These
words are not mine.
Hamlet No, nor mine now.
Hamlet hides his plot and intentions from the King.
#52 — 3.2.119 — flippancy
Hamlet Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
Ophelia No, my lord.
Hamlet I mean, my head upon your lap?
Ophelia Ay, my lord.
Hamlet Do you think I meant country matters?
Ophelia I think nothing, my lord.
Hamlet That’s a fair thought to lie between maids’ legs.
Ophelia What is, my lord?
Ophelia You are merry, my lord.
Hamlet Who, I?
Ophelia Ay, my lord.
Hamlet jokes with Ophelia before the play.
#53 — 3.2.159 — flippancy
Hamlet Marry, this is miching mallecho. It means mischief.
Hamlet explains the silent actions of the players at the beginning of the play.
#54 — 3.2.173 — sarcasm, condescension
Hamlet Is this a prologue or the posy of a ring?
Ophelia ’Tis brief, my lord.
Hamlet As woman’s love.
Hamlet remarks on the short prologue.
#55 — 3.2.253 — insinuation, sarcasm
Hamlet Madam, how like you this play?
Queen The lady protests too much, methinks.
Hamlet O, but she’ll keep her word.
The Queen’s response to the actions of the queen in the play show why she may have done the same thing in the situation with King Hamlet.
#56 — 3.2.270 — flippancy
Hamlet I could interpret between you and your love,
if I could see the puppets dallying.
Ophelia You are keen, my lord, you are keen.
Hamlet It would cost you a groaning to take off my edge.
Ophelia Still better and worse.
Hamlet and Ophelia banter as he narrates the play.
#57 — 3.2.350 — sarcasm
Hamlet Sir, I cannot.
Guildenstern What, my lord?
Hamlet Make you a wholesome answer. My wit’s
diseased. But, sir, such answer as I can make, you
shall command—or, rather, as you say, my mother.
Hamlet receives a message from Guildenstern.
#58 — 3.2.406 — flippancy
Hamlet Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel?
Polonius By the mass, and ’tis like a camel, indeed.
Hamlet Methinks it is like a weasel.
Polonius It is backed like a weasel.
Hamlet Or like a whale?
Polonius Very like a whale.
Hamlet seems to be testing Polonius’s loyalty.
#59 — 3.3.40 — seriousness, guilt
King O, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse upon ’t,
A brother’s murder. Pray can I not,
Though inclination be as sharp as will.
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent,
And, like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin
And both neglect. What if this cursèd hand
Were thicker than itself with brother’s blood?
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy
But to confront the visage of offence?
And what’s in prayer but this twofold force,
To be forestalled ere we come to fall,
Or pardoned being down? Then I’ll look up.
My fault is past. But, O, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? “Forgive me my foul murder”?
That cannot be; since I am still possessed
Of those effects for which I did the murder:
My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.
May one be pardoned and retain th’ offense?
In the corrupted currents of this world,
Offense’s gilded hand may shove by justice,
And oft ’tis seen the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law. But ’tis not so above:
There is no shuffling, there the action lies
In his true nature, and we ourselves compelled,
Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then? What rests?
Try what repentance can. What can it not?
Yet what can it, when one can not repent?
O wretched state! O bosom black as death!
O limèd soul, that, struggling to be free,
Art more engaged! Help, angels! Make assay
Bow, stubborn knees, and heart with strings of steel
Be soft as sinews of the newborn babe.
All may be well.
The King begins to pray for his evil deeds.
#60 — 3.3.77 — seriousness, conscience
Hamlet Now might I do it pat, now he is a-praying,
And now I’ll do ’t. And so he goes to heaven,
And so am I revenged. That would be scanned:
A villain kills my father, and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge.
Hamlet realizes this is not the best time to carry out his plan to kill the king.
#61 — 3.4.12 — flippancy, condescension
Queen Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
Hamlet Mother, you have my father much offended.
Queen Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.
Hamlet Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.
Hamlet turns his mother’s accusation back around at her.
#62 — 3.4.34 — seriousness, sarcasm, insinuation
Hamlet A bloody deed—almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king and marry with his brother.
Hamlet finally makes his accusation to his mother that she helped in the plot against King Hamlet.
#63 — 3.4.118 — wonder, guilt
Hamlet Save me, and hover o’er me with your wings,
You heavenly guards!—What would your gracious figure?
Hamlet is startled and afraid at the ghost’s appearance in his mother’s chamber.
#64 — 3.4.177 — guilt
Queen O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain!
The Queen is shocked to hear what Hamlet knows of his father’s death.
#65 — 3.4.219 — seriousness
Queen Be thou assured, if words be made of breath,
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.
The Queen promises to keep Hamlet’s words secret.
#66 — 3.4.235 — seriousness, flippancy
Hamlet I’ll lug the guts into the neighbour room.
Mother, good night indeed. This counsellor
Is now most still, most secret, and most grave,
Who was in life a foolish prating knave.—
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Good night, mother.
Hamlet thinks nothing of the fact that he is dragging a body out of the room as he bids his mother good night.
#67 — 4.1.7 — seriousness, wonder
Queen Mad as the sea and wind, when both contend
Which is the mightier. In his lawless fit,
Behind the arras hearing something stir,
Whips out his rapier, cries “A rat, a rat,”
And, in this brainish apprehension kills
The unseen good old man.
Gertrude describes her encounter with Hamlet.
#68 — 4.1.45 — wonder, sarcasm
King O, come away!
My soul is full of discord and dismay.
The King becomes further frightened of Hamlet.
#69 — 4.2.10 — seriousness, flippancy, sarcasm
Hamlet Do not believe it.
Rosencrantz Believe what?
Hamlet That I can keep your counsel and not mine
own. Besides, to be demanded of a sponge, what
replication should be made by the son of a king?
Hamlet continues to mock Rosencrantz in his attempt to gain more information.
#70 — 4.2.23 — sarcasm, condescension
Rosencrantz I understand you not, my lord.
Hamlet I am glad of it. a knavish speech sleeps in a
Hamlet makes fun of Rosencrantz, who ignores him and continues asking questions.
#71 — 4.3.2 — seriousness, condescension
King How dangerous is it that this man goes loose!
Yet must not we put the strong law on him.
He’s loved of the distracted multitude,
Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes;
And, where ’tis so, the offender’s scourge is weighed,
But never the offense.
King Claudius debates what to do with Hamlet, who is popular with the public.
#72 — 4.3.20 — sarcasm
King Now, Hamlet, where’s Polonius?
Hamlet At supper.
King At supper where?
Hamlet Not where he eats, but where he is eaten. A
certain convocation of politic worms are e’en at
him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet. We
fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves
for maggots. Your fat king and your lean beggar is
but variable service—two dishes but to one table.
That’s the end.
Hamlet jokingly describes the location of Polonius’s body.
#73 — 4.3.52 — flippancy, sarcasm
Hamlet For England?
King Ay, Hamlet.
King So is it, if thou knew’st our purposes.
Hamlet acts confident about being sent to England.
#74 — 4.4.56 — sarcasm
Hamlet I see a cherub that sees them. But come, for
Hamlet seems to suggest that the King will not get away with his plan.
#75 — 4.4.59 — seriousness, guilt
Hamlet How stand I, then,
That have a father killed, a mother stained,
Excitements of my reason and my blood,
And let all sleep, while to my shame I see
The imminent death of twenty thousand men,
That for a fantasy and trick of fame
Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot
Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
Which is not tomb enough and continent
To hide the slain? O, from this time forth
My thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth!
Hamlet resolves to take action rather than moping.
#76 — 4.5.80 — guilt
King O, this is the poison of deep grief. It springs
All from her father’s death, and how behold!
O Gertrude, Gertrude,
When sorrows come, they come not single spies,
But in battalions: first, her father slain;
Next, your son gone, and he most violent author
Of his own just remove; the people muddied,
Thick, and unwholesome in their thoughts and whispers,
For good Polonius’ death; and we have done but greenly,
In hugger-mugger to inter him.
The King seems to take responsibility for Ophelia’s insanity.
#77 — 4.5.99 — seriousness, guilt
King Wherein necessity, of matter beggared,
Will nothing stick our person to arraign
In ear and ear. O, my dear Gertrude, this,
Like to a murd’ring-piece, in many places
Gives me superfluous death.
The king is fraught at the recent events and increasing chaos.
#78 — 4.5.198 — wonder, seriousness
Laertes This nothing’s more than matter.
Laertes analyzes Ophelia’s state of mind.
#79 — 4.7.13 — condescension
King The Queen his mother
Lives almost by his looks, and for myself
(My virtue or my plague, be it either which),
She is so conjunctive to my life and soul
That, as the star moves not but in his sphere,
I could not but by her.
The King debates what to do about Hamlet.
#80 — 4.7.141 — guilt
King Hamlet comes back; what would you undertake
To show yourself indeed your father’s son
More than in words?
The King tries to convince Laertes to work against Hamlet.
#81 — 4.7.188 — wonder
Queen One woe doth tread upon another’s heel,
So fast they follow. Your sister’s drowned, Laertes.
Laertes Drowned? O, where?
The Queen and Laertes are saddened by Ophelia’s sudden death.
#82 — 4.7.219 — sarcasm, seriousness
King How much I had to do to calm his rage!
Now fear I this will give it start again.
Therefore, let’s follow.
The King claims he had a hard time calming Laertes, when he really turned him against Hamlet.
#83 — 5.1.67 — condescension
Hamlet Has this fellow no feeling of his business? He
sings in grave-making.
Hamlet and Horatio come across a grave digger at the cemetery.
#84 — 5.1.76 — seriousness
Hamlet That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing
once. How the knave jowls it to the ground as if
it were Cain’s jawbone, that did the first murder!
Hamlet remarks on the grave digger’s cavalier actions.
#85 — 5.1.120 — flippancy, sarcasm
Hamlet Whose grave’s this, sirrah?
Gravedigger Mine, sir.
Hamlet I think it be thine indeed, for thou liest in’t.
Gravedigger You lie out on ’t, sir, and therefore ’tis
not yours. For my part, I do not lie in ’t, and yet it is mine.
Hamlet Thou dost lie in ’t, to be in ’t and say it is thine.
’Tis for the dead, not for the quick; therefore thou liest.
Gravedigger ’Tis a quick lie, sir; ’twill away again
from me to you.
Hamlet and the Gravedigger joke about who the grave is for.
#86 — 5.1.140 — sarcasm, condescension
Hamlet How absolute the knave is! We must speak by
the card, or equivocation will undo us. By the
Lord, Horatio, these three years I have took note of
it: the age is grown so picked that the toe of the
peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier, he
galls his kibe.
Hamlet laments the lack of respect for those of high status in society.
#87 — 5.1.147 — flippancy, sarcasm
Gravedigger Of all the days i’ th’ year, I came to ’t
that day that our last king Hamlet overcame
Hamlet How long is that since?
Gravedigger Cannot you tell that? Every fool can
tell that. It was the very day that young Hamlet
was born—he that is mad, and sent into England.
Hamlet Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?
Gravedigger Why, because he was mad. He shall
recover his wits there. Or if he do not, ’tis no great
Hamlet gets the gravedigger’s explanation of the recent events.
#88 — 5.1.190 — wonder, seriousness
Hamlet Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio—a fellow of infinite
jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his
back a thousand times, and now how abhorred in
my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it. Here hung
those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft.
Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your
songs? your flashes of merriment that were wont to
set the table on a roar? Not one now to mock your
own grinning? Quite chapfallen? Now get you to my
lady’s chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch
thick, to this favour she must come. Make her laugh at that.
Hamlet recounts his childhood with Yorick, the jester.
#89 — 5.1.222 — wonder
Hamlet O, that that earth which kept the world in awe
Should patch a wall t’ expel the winter’s flaw!
Hamlet laments the cycle of life and how things, once deac, turn back to dust.
#90 — 5.1.233 — sarcasm, condescension
Doctor Her obsequies have been as far enlarged
As we have warranty. Her death was doubtful,
And, but that great command o’ersways the order,
She should in ground unsanctified been lodged
Till the last trumpet. For charitable prayers
Shards, flints and pebbles should be thrown on her.
Yet here she is allow’d her virgin crants,
Her maiden strewments and the bringing home
Of bell and burial.
The priest explains that Ophelia is only getting such a proper burial on the King’s orders.
#91 — 5.1.253 — wonder
Hamlet What, the fair Ophelia?
Queen Sweets to the sweet, farewell!
I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet’s wife;
I thought thy bride-bed to have decked, sweet maid,
And not have strewed thy grave.
Hamlet realizes that the funeral is for Ophelia.
#92 — 5.1.273 — condescension
Hamlet Thou pray’st not well.
I prithee take thy fingers from my throat,
For though I am not splenitive and rash,
Yet have I something in me dangerous,
Which let thy wisdom fear. Hold off thy hand.
Hamlet and Laertes begin to fight and argue over Ophelia.
#93 — 5.1.294 — condescension
Hamlet Dost thou come here to whine?
To outface me with leaping in her grave?
Be buried quick with her, and so will I.
And if thou prate of mountains, let them throw
Millions of acres on us, till our ground,
Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
Make Ossa like a wart. Nay, an thou’lt mouth,
I’ll rant as well as thou.
Hamlet asserts himself over Laertes in his love for Ophelia.
#94 — 5.2.129 — sarcasm
Hamlet I take him to be a soul of great
article, and his infusion of such dearth and rareness
as, to make true diction of him, his semblable is his mirror,
and who else would trace him, his umbrage, nothing more.
Hamlet describes Laertes to Osric.
#95 — 5.2.196 — sarcasm, condescension
Hamlet He does well to commend it himself.
There are no tongues else for ’s turn.
Hamlet speaks of Osric as naïve and pathetic.
#96 — 5.2.247 — sarcasm
Hamlet Was ’t Hamlet wronged Laertes? Never Hamlet.
If Hamlet from himself be ta’en away,
And when he’s not himself does wrong Laertes,
Then Hamlet does it not; Hamlet denies it.
Who does it, then? His madness. If ’t be so,
Hamlet is of the faction that is wronged;
His madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy.
Hamlet claims his madness is to blame for his deeds.
#97 — 5.2.317 — despair
King Gertrude, do not drink.
Queen I will, my lord; I pray you pardon me.
King It is the poisoned cup. It is too late.
Gertrude accidentally drinks of the poisoned cup that was meant for Hamlet.
#98 — 5.2.336 — despair
Laertes Why as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric.
I am justly kill’d with mine own treachery.
How does the Queen?
King She swoons to see them bleed.
QueeN No, no, the drink, the drink! O, my dear Hamlet!
The drink, the drink! I am poisoned.
Everyone begins to die from the backfired plans.
#99 — 5.2.355 — despair, sarcasm
King O, yet defend me, friends! I am but hurt.
Hamlet Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damnèd Dane,
Drink off this potion. Is thy union here?
Follow my mother.
Hamlet finally gets his revenge on King Claudius.
#100 — 5.2.389 — despair
Hamlet O, I die, Horatio!
The potent poison quite o’ercrows 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.
So tell him, with th’ occurrents, more and less,
Which have solicited—the rest is silence.
O, O, O, O!
In Hamlet’s last breath he endorses Fortinbras as the new King.
#101 — 5.2.403 — despair, seriousness
Fortinbras This quarry cries on havoc. O proud Death,
What feast is toward in thine eternal cell
That thou so many princes at a shot
So bloodily hast struck?
Fortinbras is shocked, upon seeing the many deaths before him.