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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #1

[…] O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead: nay, not so much, not two:
So excellent a king; that was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on: and yet, within a month--
Let me not think on't--Frailty, thy name is woman!--
[…]
She married. O, most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
It is not nor it cannot come to good:
But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue.
(1.2.6)

Hamlet's got a serious problem with mom. It's not just that he's disgusted by Gertrude's incestuous marriage to Claudius —Hamlet can hardly stand to think about his mother having sex, period. Which, um, seems normal to us. What's not normal is the way that he keeps thinking about it, anyway.

Quote #2

Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister,
And keep you in the rear of your affection,
Out of the shot and danger of desire.
The chariest maid is prodigal enough,
If she unmask her beauty to the moon:
Virtue itself 'scapes not calumnious strokes:
The canker galls the infants of the spring,
Too oft before their buttons be disclosed,
And in the morn and liquid dew of youth
Contagious blastments are most imminent.
Be wary then; best safety lies in fear:
Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.
(1.3.3)

Laertes insists that Ophelia should fear premarital sex because a "deflowered" woman is seen as damaged goods that no man will want to marry. This speech is also full of vivid innuendo, as when he compares intercourse to a "canker" worm invading and injuring a delicate flower before its buds, or "buttons," have had time to open (1.3.3). Nice. It's not quite as creepy as Hamlet's fixation with his mom, but it's pretty close.

Quote #3

POLONIUS
Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I do know,
When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
Lends the tongue vows: these blazes, daughter,
Giving more light than heat, extinct in both,
Even in their promise, as it is a-making,
You must not take for fire. From this time
Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence
(1.3.4)

Ophelia's virginity is a family affair: her dad agrees with her brother that her sexuality makes her vulnerable to damage. But it also makes her powerful: in Polonius's hands, Ophelia is nothing more than a tool to reveal Hamlet's state of mind.

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