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Hamlet Quotes Essay, Research Paper

Derek Mycroft


Hamlet Quotes

Though this be madness, yet there is method in t. (II ii) This statement, spoken by Polonius in an aside about Hamlet, makes reference to Hamlets apparent insane disposition. Polonius, though shown as somewhat dimwitted and slow, is shown by this quote to be coming to the realization that Hamlets speech, which was once dismissed as the words of a madman actually are carefully selected phrases, witty responses, and calculated sentences with method in t. We not only learn that Polonius realizes this, but it tells a reader or watcher who might not of caught the hidden implication, that Hamlet might not be mad. It shows that Hamlet is in fact capable of methodic thought and it also proposes a question as to the nature Hamlets intentions.

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! (I ii) In this soliloquy spoken by Hamlet, which appears relatively early in the play, we see the first signs of Hamlet questioning his life and if he should end it. He says all the uses of this world seem weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable and that God has Fixed his canon gainst self-slaughter meaning that God forbids suicide. This shows us that he is really bothered by the circumstances in Denmark and that he is an unstable character.

Angels and ministers of grace defend us! / Be thou a spirit of health or a goblin damned, / Bring with thee airs from heaven of blasts from hell, / Be thy intents wicked or charitable, / thou com st in a questionable shape / That I will speak to thee. (I iv) Here is the first example of Hamlets tendency to reason, rationalize, and think everything through. He is just confronted with the ghost of his father and instead of acting on sight as many people would (whether that action is to go to the ghost or to run from it) he stops asks himself about the intentions of the ghost and where it came from. He comes to the conclusion that it s either a good spirit or a goblin damned but since it comes in a questionable shape he will go to it. Before he would act he had to consider every aspect of the situation. This quote, and others like it, define him as a character and expose his tragic flaw.

For there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. (II ii) this quote, spoken by Hamlet holds true in the play as well in life. Hamlet is saying that there is nothing bad or good in life but our own thinking defines it in these terms. He is saying that an action by itself is merely an action, the decision of whether that action is correct or not rest squarely on the shoulders of though. Different people might consider an action either right or wrong simply by how they perceive it not because the action itself it right or wrong. This can be said for things today. Who decides what is correct and what is not, what is moral and what isn t, what is right and what is wrong? Do the actions themselves carry some predestined affirmation as to their morality? The point could also be made that since Hamlet tends to think about everything he tries to assign a confirmation of right or wrong to everything and act accordingly.

That I essentially am not in madness / but mad in craft. (III iv) In this quote spoken by Hamlet to his mother, he is letting it be known that he is not mad but pretending to be. Here we realize that Hamlet has really been pretending to be insane. We also know that he was pretending to be insane for a reason, and now that another character knows of this, whatever he hoped to accomplish by this sharad must be close at hand.

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. In this famous soliloquy by Hamlet he questions whether he should live or whether he should die. He asks whether it is nobler in the mind to bear the pains of life or to end that life. This is not only a familiar inquiry, but also another example as to extent Hamlet will think things through.

Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast, / With witchcraft of the wits, with traitorous gifts- / O wicked wit and gifts, that have the power / So to seduce! – Won to his shameful lust / The will of my most seemingly-virtuous queen. Spoken by the ghost of Hamlets father, this quote portrays Claudius negatively, as an incestuous adulterate beast. It not only shapes the readers or watchers view of Claudius but it also influences Hamlet to his revenge. It speaks of how the evil Claudius seduced the seemingly-virtuous queen and won his shameful lust . The ghost not only informed Hamlet of his uncle s actions but he said it with such words that would drive any man to revenge.

A villain kills my father and for that / I, his sole son, do this same villain send / to heaven / Why this is hire and salary, not revenge. Hamlet was in the process of reconsidering immediately killing Claudius when he said this. He didn t want to kill him and send him to heaven for that would not be revenge. Besides being yet another example of his philosophy of thought over action it also posses the debate of does Hamlet really want to kill Claudius. Before we were led to believe he didn t do it for fear he was being mislead by the ghost but now that he knows the ghosts words to be true he hesitates. It is a question that must be asked as to his intensions. We ve seen this tendency to aversion before but now it is actually shown to us in an indirect way.

Am I a coward 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 whore, unpack my heart with words. Here, in this quote spoken by Hamlet, we learn that he himself knows he thinks and speaks more than he acts. He also calls himself a coward and we again have to wonder if he really wants to kill Claudius. Is the real reason he is procrastinating so much because he is a coward, because he doesn t want to kill the king? It posses the questions as to his intentions yet never fully answers them. We know he eventually did kill the king, but did he mean to the whole time?

Madness in great ones must not go unwatched. This quote, spoken by Claudius refers to Hamlet and his apparent insanity. Claudius is saying that any great man who appears mad must be watched carefully. This can be taken two ways. One, that any great man who has become mad might not be able to watch himself and must then be watched whether for his own sake or others. Two, that no great man can truly go insane simply because of their elevated status. This one, I feel is the more relevant. Claudius probably feels threatened by Hamlet because he knows his insanity is false and that Hamlet must be watched, for any great man who would pretend something like this must be planning something as great as he.

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