Hamlet Art and Culture Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line) according to the Norton edition
[…] o'erstep not he modesty of
nature: for any thing so overdone is from the purpose
of playing, whose end, both at the first and
now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to
nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her
own image, and the very age and body of time
his form and pressure. (3.2.20-26)
Hamlet wants the player's performance to be authentic, as though it were holding a "mirror up to nature." This idea about theater being a kind of "mirror" also seems to be in keeping with Hamlet's belief that the play will reflect King Claudius's guilt. And it does. So what kind of emotions is Hamlet reflecting back to us?
Madam, how like you this play?
The lady protests too much, methinks.
O, but she'll keep her word.
Dude, Hamlet, lay off your mom. At this point in the action, the Player Queen has professed over and over again that she will not remarry after her husband, the Player King, dies. Gertrude says here that the character "protests too much" and Hamlet, as usual, finds a way too insult his mother. The faithful Player Queen, he insists, will "keep her word," unlike Gertrude, who Hamlet sees as unfaithful and adulterous. In this case, life definitely doesn't imitate art.
He poisons him i' the garden for's estate. His
name's Gonzago: the story is extant, and written in
choice Italian. You shall see anon how the
murderer gets the love of Gonzago's wife.
The king rises.
Veeeery interesting. Claudius looks pretty guilty when he gets up and leaves the room after he sees the on-stage poisoning. Looks like there's something to Hamlet's theory of theater, after all.