The Tragedy of Hamlet

Important Quotations

Prince Hamlet

"A little more than kin, and less than kind!"

"Seems, madam? Nay, it is."

"But I have that within which passes show; These but the trappings and the suits of woe."

"O that this too too solid flesh would melt, Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew, Or that the Everlasting had not fixed His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter."

"O, most wicked speed, to post With such dexterity to incestuous sheets! But break my heart, for I must hold my tongue."

"’A was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again."

"If it assume my noble father’s person, I’ll speak to it though hell itself should gape And bid me hold my peace."

"My father’s spirit in arms? All is not well. I doubt some foul play. Would the night were come!"

"Though I am native here And to the manner born, it is a custom More honored in the breach than the observance"

"The dram of evil Doth all the noble substance often dout To his own scandal."

"Let me not burst in ignorance, but tell Why thy canonized bones, hearsed in death, Have burst their cerements..."

"And for my soul, what can it do to that, Being a thing immortal as itself?"

"My fate cries out And makes each petty artere in this body As hardy as the Nemean lion’s nerve."

"A my prophetic soul!"

"I hold it fit that we shake hands and part. You, as your business and desire shall point you . . ."

"Well said, old mole! Canst work i’ th’ earth so fast? A worthy pioner! Once more remove, good friends."

"Excellent, excellent well. You are a fishmonger."

"A dream is but a shadow."

"If you love me, hold not off." (to ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN)

"He that plays the king shall be welcome; his Majesty shall have tribute of me."

"I am but mad north-northwest: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw."

"You could for a need study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines which I would set down and insert in’t."

"O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I! It is 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 wanned, Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect, A broken voice, and his whole function suiting With forms to his conceit?"

"Am I a coward? Who calls me villain? Breaks my pate across? Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face."

"The plays the thine Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King."

"To be or not to be: that is the question."

"That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty."

"Get the to a nunnery."

"Horatio, thou art e’en as just a man As e’er my conversation coped withal."

"Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice And could of men distinguish her election, S’hath sealed thee for herself, for thou hast been As one, in suff’ring all, that suffers nothing, A man that Fortune’s buffets and rewards Hast ta’en with equal thanks."

"Do you think I meant country matters?"

"For look how cheerfully my mother looks, and my father died within’s two hours."

"I could interpret between you and your love, if I could see the puppets dallying."

"You would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops. Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me."

"Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell! I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune."

"You cannot call it love, for at your age The heyday in the blood is tame, it’s humble, And waits upon the judgment, and what judgment Would step from this to this?

"It is not madness That I have uttered. Bring me to the test, And I the matter will reword, which madness Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace, Lay not that flattering unction to your soul, That not your trespass but my madness speaks."

"Oh, ‘tis most sweet When in one line two crafts directly meet."

"Ay, sir, that soaks up the King’s countenance, his rewards, his authorities. But such officers do the King best service in the end."

"I am glad of it: a knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear."

"Bring me to him. Hide fox, and all after."

"How all occasions do inform against me And spur my dull revenge! What is a man, if his chief good and market of his time Be but to sleep and feed?"

"O, from this time forth, My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth."

"Is not a parchment made of sheepskins? They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance in that."

"Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy."

"Dost thou think Alexander looked o’ this fashion i’ th’ earth?"

"Why, I will fight with him upon this theme Until my eyelids will no longer wag."

"I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers Could not with all their quantity of love Make up my sum."

"Why, man, they did make love to this employment. They are not near my conscience; their defeat Does by their own insinuation grow."

"There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow."

"Give me your pardon, sir. I have done you wrong, But pardon’t, as you are a gentleman."

"I here proclaim madness. Was’t Hamlet wronged Laertes? Never Hamlet. If Hamlet from himself be ta’en away, And when he’s not himself does wrong Laertes, Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it."

"I cannot live to hear the news from England, But I do prophesy th’ election lights On Fortinbras. He has my dying voice."

Queen Gertrude

"Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted color off And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark."

"Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet. I pray thee stay with us, go not to Wittenberg."

"I doubt it is no other but the main, His father’s death and our o’erhasty marriage."

"More matter, with less art."

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

"Hamlet, you hast thy father much offended."

"Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue."

"What will thou do? Thou wilt not murder me? Help, ho!"

"O what a rash and bloody deed is this!"

"O, speak to me no more. These words like daggers enter in my ears. No more, sweet Hamlet."

"Alas, how is’t with you, That you do bend your eye on vacancy And with th’incorporal air do hold discourse?"

"This is the very coinage of your brain. This bodiless creation ecstasy Is very cunning in."

"Mad as the sea and wind when both contend Which is the mightier."

"’A weeps for what is done."

"To my sick soul (as sin’s true nature is) Each toy seems prologue to some great amiss; So full of artless jealousy is guilt It spills itself in fearing to be spilt."

"How cheerfully on the false trail they cry! O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs."

"One woe doth tread upon another’s heel. So fast they follow. Your sister’s drowned, Laertes."

"Sweets to the sweet! Farewell. I hoped thou coldest have been my Hamlet’s wife."

"The Queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet."

"I will, my lord. I pray you pardon me."

"The drink, the drink. I am poisoned."

King Claudius

"Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature That we with wisest sorrow think on him Together with remembrance of ourselves."

"Farewell, and let your haste commend your duty." (to CORNELIUS, VOLTEMAND)

"The head is not more native to the heart . . . Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father."

"Take thy fair hour, Laertes. Time be thine And thy best graces spend it at thy will."

"’Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet, To give these mourning duties to your father."

"’Tis unmanly grief. It shows a will most incorrect to heaven, A heart unfortified, a mind impatient..."

"With all my heart, and it doth much content me To hear him so inclined."

"How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience! the harlot’s cheek, beautied with plast’ring art, Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it Than is my deed to my most painted word. O heavy burden!"

"Give me some light. Away!"

"O, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven; It hast the primal eldest curse upon’t, A brother’s murder. Pray I can not, Though inclination be as sharp as will."

"Help, angels! Make assay. Bow, stubborn knees, and heart with strings of steel, Be soft as sinews of the newborn babe. All may be well."

"My words fly up, my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to heaven go."

"There’s matter in these sighs. These profound heaves You must translate; ‘tis fit we understand them."

"His liberty is full of threats to all, To you yourself, to us, to every one."

"It will be laid to us, whose providence Should have kept short, restrained, and out of haunt This mad young man."

"O come away! My soul is full of discord and dismay."

"Diseases desperate grown By desperate appliance are relieved, Or not at all."

"If you desire to know the certainty of your dear father, is’t writ in your revenge That swoopstake you will draw both friend and foe, Winner and loser?"

"Go but apart, Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will, And they shall hear and judge ‘txixt you and me."

"What should this mean? Are all the rest come back? Or is it some abuse, and no such thing."

"No place indeed should murder sanctuarize; Revenge should have no bounds."


"He hath, my lord, wrung from me my slow leave By laborsome petition"

"There- my blessing with thee, And these few precepts in thy memory Look thou character."

"Affection pooh! You speak like a green girl, Unsifted in such perilous circumstance. Do you believe his tenders?"

"Tender yourself more dearly, Or (not to crack the wind of the poor phrase) Tend’ring it you’ll tender me a fool."

"And let him ply his music." (about LAERTES)

"This is the very ecstasy of love Whose violent property fordoes itself And leads the will to desperate undertakings"

"Brevity is the soul of wit."

"Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t. Will you walk out of the air, my lord?"


"Do not, as some ungracious pastors do, Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven Whiles, like a puffed and reckless libertine, Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads And recks not his own rede."

"Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than with honesty?"

"O what a noble mind is here o’erthrown! O, woe is me t’ have seen what I have seen, see what I see!"

"Still better, and worse."

"They saw the owl was a baker’s daughter. Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be."

"There’s rosemary, for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies, that’s for thoughts."


"Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood, A violet in the youth of primy nature, Forward, not permanent . . ."

"For nature crescent does not grow alone In thews and bulk, but as this temple waxes."

"Be wary then; best safety lies in fear; Youth to itself rebels, though none else near."

"That drop of blood that’s calm proclaims me bastard, Cries cuckold to my father, brands the harlot Even here between the chaste unsmirched brow Of my true mother."

"I’ll not be juggled with. To hell allegiance, vows to the blackest devil, Conscience and grace to the profoundest pit! I dare damnation."

"Upon my life, Lamord."

"To cut his throat i’ th’ church!"

"I will do’t, And for that purpose I’ll anoint my sword. I bought an unction of a mountebank."

"Adieu, my lord. I have a speech o’ fire, that fain would blaze, But that this folly drowns it."

"I tell thee, churlish priest, A minist’ring angel shall my sister be When thou liest howling!"


"Most like: it harrows me with fear and wonder." (about GHOST)

"What art thou that usurp’st this time of night, Together with that fair and warlike form In which the majesty...t

"As thou art to himself. Such was the very armor he had on When he the ambitious Norway combated: So frowned he once, when, in an angry parle, He smote the sledded Polacks on the ice. ‘Tis strange."

"This bodes some strange eruption to our state."

"A little ere the mightiest Julius fell, The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead Did squeak and gibber..."

"Let us impart what we have seen tonight Unto young Hamlet, for upon my life This spirit . . . will speak to him."

"A truant disposition, good my lord."

"I knew your father. These hands are not more like."

"’Twere good she were spoken with, for she may strew Dangeous conjectures in ill-breeding minds."

"Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness." (about CLOWN)

"His purse is empty. All’s golden words are spent." (about OSRIC)

"Never believe it. I am more an antique Roman than a Dane. Here’s yet some liquor left."

"So shall you hear Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts, Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters, Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause, And, in this upshot, purposes mistook Fall’n on th’ inventors’ heads. All this I can truly deliver."

Ghost of King Hamlet

"I could a tale unfold whose lightest word Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood . . "

"Murder most foul, as in the best it is, But this most foul, strange and unnatural."

"Adieu, adieu. Remember me."

"Do not forget. This visitation Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose."


"Both your majesties Might, by the sovereign power you have of us Put your dread pleasures more into command Than to entreaty."

"Why, then your ambition makes it one. ‘Tis too narrow for your mind."


"But we both obey, And here give up ourselves in the full bent To lay our service freely at your feet."

"Faith, her privates we."

"Is in his retirement marvelous mistemp’red." (about KING)

"Good my lord, put your discourse into some frame, and start not so wildly from my affair."

"The Queen, your mother, in most great affliction of spirit hath sent me to you."


"Horatio says ‘tis fantasy, And will not let belief take hold of him Touching this dreaded sight twice seen"

"Thou art a scholar; speak to it, Horatio"

"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."


"I thank your lordship, it is very hot."

"It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed."

"Sir, here is newly come to court Laertes- believe me, an absolute gentleman, full of most excellent differences, of very soft society and great showing."

"The King, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary horses, against the which he has impawned, as I take it, six French rapiers and poniards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers, and so."


"You know the rendezvous. If that his Majesty would aught with us, We shall express our duty in his eye; And let him know so."

"This quarry cries on havoc. O proud Death, What feast is toward in thine eternal cell That thou so many princes at a shot So bloodily hast struck?"

"Let four captains Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage, For he was likely, had he been put on,, To have proved most royal; and for his passage The soldier’s music and the rite of war Speak loudly for him."

"Go, bid the soldiers shoot."


"Is she to be buried in Christian burial when she willfully seeks her own salvation?"

"It must be se offendo; it cannot be else."

"Argal, he that is not guilty of his own death, shortens not his own life."

"And the more pity that great folk should have count’nance in this world to drown or hang themselves more than their even-Christen."

"What, art a heathen? How dost thou understand the Scripture?"

"Why, because ‘a was mad. ‘A shall recover his wits there; or, if ‘a do not, ‘tis no great matter there."


"My lord, that would dishonor him."