| Quote #1
[…] O God! God!
Hamlet's got a serious problem with his mother's sexuality. 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. He says here that he can't bear to remember the way Gertrude would "hang" on his father with a gluttonous appetite and he suggests that Gertrude's desire is simply transferred to Claudius "within a month" of Old Hamlet's death. Of course, Hamlet also thinks his uncle's out of control – he calls him a satyr, which is a mythical half-man half-goat creature with a hyperactive sex-drive. All of this makes the world seem rank, like an "unweeded garden," that's as overgrown and out of control as his mother's sexuality.
| Quote #2
Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister,
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). What's striking about this speech is the way Laertes's graphic description turns his sister into an erotic object while insisting, at the same time, on Ophelia's chastity. This kind of erotic fixation on virginity turns up repeatedly in Shakespeare's work and other pieces of Elizabethan literature.
| Quote #3
Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I do know,
Ophelia's father confirms Polonius's claim that her sexuality makes her vulnerable to damage. What is interesting is that he later uses her sexuality as a weapon – against Hamlet, in order to discern the state of Hamlet's mind.