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Quotes

Quote #4

GHOST
O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible!
If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not;
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury and damned incest.
But, howsoever thou pursuest this act,
Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
Against thy mother aught: leave her to heaven
And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge,
To prick and sting her.
(1.5.9)

The Ghost isn't too happy about Gertrude's "damned incest," but he tells Hamlet to keep her out of things anyway. Surprise! Hamlet can't seem to keep this promise, either. In fact, his obsession with Gertrude is so problematic that the Ghost returns in Act III, scene iv, to tell Hamlet to lay off his mom.

Quote #5

HAMLET
O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his own conceit
That from her working all his visage wann'd,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in's aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? and all for nothing!
(2.2.58)

After watching one of the traveling players (actors) deliver a moving speech, Hamlet berates himself for his inability to avenge his father's murder. If an actor can weep for a fictional character, why can't Hamlet get himself moving for his actual dad? (If you've ever cried over a movie romance while remaining stony-hearted during an actual fight, you know this feeling.)

Quote #6

The spirit that I have seen
May be the devil: and the devil hath power
To assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me: I'll have grounds
More relative than this: the play 's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.
(2.2.58)

Here, Hamlet is worried that the ghost might be lying about Old Hamlet's death in order to lead young Hamlet astray. Hamlet wants to be sure that Claudius is guilty so he devises a plan to test the ghost's story. Sounds pretty logical—i.e. not crazy—to us. We'd want confirmation of our spirit visitations, too.

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