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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #7

HAMLET
Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;
And now I'll do't. And so he goes to heaven;
And so am I revenged. That would be scann'd:
A villain kills my father; and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven.
(3.3.1)

Once again, Hamlet finds a reason to not kill Claudius. His rationale? He says he doesn't want to murder him while the man is praying because he's afraid he'll send Claudius's soul straight to "heaven." Revenge, for Hamlet, isn't simply about killing Claudius —it's about making sure he suffers in Hell, just like he thinks his father is doing.

Quote #8

HAMLET
[…] I do not know
Why yet I live to say 'This thing's to do;'
Sith I have cause and will and strength and means
To do't. Examples gross as earth exhort me:
Witness this army of such mass and charge
Led by a delicate and tender prince,
Whose spirit with divine ambition puff'd
Makes mouths at the invisible event,
Exposing what is mortal and unsure
To all that fortune, death and danger dare,
Even for an egg-shell. Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honour's at the stake. How stand I then,
That have a father kill'd, a mother stain'd,
Excitements of my reason and my blood,
And let all sleep? while, to my shame, I see
The imminent death of twenty thousand men,
That, for a fantasy and trick of fame,
Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot
Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
Which is not tomb enough and continent
To hide the slain? O, from this time forth,
My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!
(4.4.6)

This is a major turning point for Hamlet. As he watches Fortinbras's army march across Denmark, he contemplates the fact that so many men will lose their lives fighting for an insignificant and tiny piece of territory, which is nothing more than an "eggshell." At the same time, Hamlet feels a sense of shame that he (a man who has a very good reason to fight), does nothing about the fact that his father has been "kill'd" and his mother has been "stain'd." It is in this very moment that Hamlet's thoughts turn bloody as he sets a direct course for revenge.

Quote #9

LAERTES
How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with:
To hell, allegiance! vows, to the blackest devil!
Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
I dare damnation. To this point I stand,
That both the worlds I give to negligence,
Let come what comes; only I'll be revenged
Most thoroughly for my father.
(4.5.6)

Compared to Hamlet, Laertes is like a little vengeance roadrunner: when he learns that his father's dead, he returns from France immediately, storms the Danish castle, and promises that he'll be "revenged." But Claudius eventually convinces Laertes to pursue a more roundabout path to vengeance. The intricate plot to lure Hamlet into a "friendly" duel recalls the kind of plotting (which results in more delay) that we've seen from young Hamlet. Do Claudius and Hamlet have more in common than they'd want to admit?

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