Significant Quotations

“Frailty, thy name is woman!”—Act 1: Scene 2, line 150

This line comes midway through Hamlet’s first soliloquy. It is in reference to his mother, Gertrude, and her lack of mourning over the death of the man whom, Hamlet felt, she so obviously loved. That she should so quickly and easily give herself to another without showing any bereavement compels Hamlet to condemn her sex as weak.

Thrift, thrift, Horatio. The funeral baked meats did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.”—Act 1: Scene 2, line 187-88

Hamlet always retains his sense of irony and his sardonic sense of humor. Even in his heartbroken condition, he is able to express with cutting mockery his disgust of recent events. The fact that good lines such as these flow from his mouth, one after another, indicates the enormity of his wit. These lines derisively refer to the cheapness of the wedding affair: It is cheap because it allowed so little time for the mourning of the king. Hamlet mocks the cheapness of it by stating that the royal wedding saved on food costs by serving leftovers from the funeral. The implication, of course, is that the marriage itself is not worth the price of an ordinary wedding.

Foul deeds will rise, though all the earth o’erwhelm them, to men’s eyes.”—Act 1: Scene 2, line 280

Hamlet’s line ending Act 1, Scene 2, reveals his suspicion concerning his father’s death. If a King Hamlet’s ghost is indeed haunting the castle, as his friends report, it signifies to Hamlet that all is not well. What Hamlet asserts with this line is that even though evil acts may be committed in secret, they shall not stay buried forever. Time exists for men, but the soul lasts forever, promising that what is hidden will ultimately be revealed.

Something is rotten in the state of...

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Essays About Hamlet