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PinkMonkey.com-MonkeyNotes-Hamlet, by William Shakespeare
PinkMonkey® Quotations on . . .

Hamlet

By William Shakespeare QUOTATION: Frailty, thy name is woman!
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 1, sc. 2, l. 146.

Generalizing from Gertrude, his mother, and her hasty marriage to her dead husband’s brother.

QUOTATION: The rest is silence.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 5, sc. 2, l. 358.

Hamlet’s last words.

QUOTATION: For who would bare the whips and scorns of time,
Th’oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of disprized 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?
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 3, sc. 1, l. 72-78 (1604).

part of Hamlet’s meditative soliloquy on the question of “To be, or not to be.”

QUOTATION: For ‘tis the sport to have the engineer
Hoised with his own petard.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 3, sc. 4, l. 190-1 (1604).

Referring to the untrustworthiness of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. (These lines do not appear in the 1623 Folio edition.) A “petard” was an explosive device used by engineers of the time, and thus the expression has passed into common usage to mean “caught in one’s own trap.”

QUOTATION: We defy augury. There’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ‘tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 5, sc. 2, l. 165-8 (1604).

Responding to Horatio’s offer to forestall Hamlet’s duel with Laertes, of which Hamlet has a premonition that all is not well.

QUOTATION: 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.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 1, sc. 2, l. 140-2.

Remembering his father as a sun-god compared to Claudius, the satyr, half-goat, half-man; “beteem” means permit.

QUOTATION: Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you,
trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it as many of your
players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 3, sc. 2, l. 1-4.

To the actors, who are to perform a play with a speech by Hamlet inserted.

QUOTATION: There is something in this more than natural, if philosophy
could find it out.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 2, sc. 2, l. 367-8.

Commenting on his uncle’s popularity as king with the people who previously decried him.

QUOTATION: Speak the speech ... trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it ... I had as lief the town crier had spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and as I may say the whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 3, sc. 2.

In the opening lines, instructing the player how to give the speech he has written.

QUOTATION: Lay not that flattering unction to your soul,
That not your trespass but my madness speaks;
It will but skin and film the ulcerous place,
Whilst rank corruption, mining all within,
Infects unseen.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 3, sc. 4, l. 147-9.

To Gertrude, who thinks he is mad; “flattering unction” means soothing ointment of flattery.

QUOTATION: Speak the speech ... trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it ... I had as lief the town crier had spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and as I may say the whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 3, sc. 2, l. 1-8 (1604).

Instructing the players how to deliver the speech he has written for insertion in the play to be performed before Claudius and Gertrude.

QUOTATION: Well said, old mole, canst work i’ th’ earth so fast?
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 1, sc. 5, l. 162.

To the ghost, who seems to be moving about under the stage as it calls on Hamlet’s friends to swear secrecy.

QUOTATION: The time is out of joint. O cursèd spite
That ever I was born to set it right!
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 1, sc. 5, l. 189-90 (1604).

QUOTATION: The time is out of joint—O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 1, sc. 5, l. 188-9.

Lamenting not only the disorder of the time, but his own nativity.

QUOTATION: Let me not think on’t; frailty, thy name is woman.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 1, sc. 2, l. 146 (1604).

In Hamlet’s first soliloquy he voices his unhappiness at the haste with which his mother had remarried when she had seemed so devoted to his father and had mourned him “Like Niobe, all tears.”

QUOTATION: We’ll teach you to drink deep ere you depart.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 1, sc. 2, l. 175.

To his friend, Horatio, visiting him in Denmark.

QUOTATION: Our indiscretion sometime serves us well
When our deep plots do pall, and that should learn us
There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will.
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 5, sc. 2, l. 8-11.

Acting rashly has saved his life, by revealing Claudius’s plot to have Hamlet executed in England; “learn” means teach.

QUOTATION: What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty, 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!
ATTRIBUTION: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 2, sc. 2, l. 304-8 (1604).

“And yet to me,” Hamlet adds, “what is this quintessence of dust?” The passage was set to music in the 1968 stage show Hair.

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