| Quote #4
O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible!
Like Hamlet, the ghost focuses on Gertrude's sexuality as he urges Hamlet not to let "Denmark be / A couch for luxury and damned incest." Translation: kill Claudius so Gertrude can't sleep with him any more. Yet, after making a big to do about Gertrude's marriage, the ghost says something like "By the way, kid, don't let it bother you – leave your mom to heaven." As we soon see, this is really hard for Hamlet to do.
| Quote #5
Hamlet is vulgar when he plays the role of an "antic" (madman, clown, or grotesque). Here, he reveals a disturbing image of pregnancy. First, he says that dead dogs "breed maggots" when they're left out for the "sun" to "kiss." Then, he warns Polonius not to let Ophelia "walk i'the sun" (walk outdoors or, be promiscuous) because she could get pregnant ("conceive"). Given that Hamlet has just said "dead dogs" "breed maggots" in the sun, it's obvious that Hamlet is equating Ophelia's body with "carrion" (another word for road kill). This suggests that women's bodies are putrid and rotten, kind of like that "rank" garden he refers to at 1.2.6 (see above). Hamlet is also punning on the word "sun," which alludes to the big shiny thing in the sky and also to Hamlet, the "son" of the dead king and the guy who would impregnate Ophelia with "maggots." Compare this passage to 3.1.9 below.
| Quote #6
Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be a
Hamlet's view that all women are "breeders of sinners" obviously reveals that he doesn't think much of women. (It also explains why he thinks sex is so disgusting –look what happens as a result.) But, it also suggests that he doesn't think much of himself either, being one of those "sinners" that's been "bred" by a woman. In light of the previous passage – 2.2.5 above – it also seems that Hamlet doesn't think he's much better than a "maggot." In fact, Hamlet says it would be better if his "mother had not borne" him at all. Is this related to Hamlet's desire for his flesh to "melt"?