Everyone who read Shakespeares work probably has heard of Hamlet, and Hamlet quotes by extension. The great author was a renowned literary expert, whose work is still admired even today. Hamlet is a tragic story of the Prince of Denmark, who is often shortened to Hamlet.
The beautiful dilemma was written by William Shakespeare sometime between 1599 and 1601. You have probably come across a number of Hamlet quotes on different themes include love, hurt, hate and madness, just to mention a few. Some of the most popular examples from Hamlet would be Ophelia quotes. These will enlighten you about life, and the options available to all people.
Hamlet quotes on life
The following are some of the most famous Hamlet quotes on life. They consist of Hamlet famous quotes that many can easily identify with. Whether you are looking for Hamlet quotes about death, or those touching on different life aspects, the following examples will come in handy.
- Conscience doth make cowards of us all.
Extracted from Act 3 Scene 1, it implies to our knowledge of the sins we have committed that could send us to hell causes us to fear death
- My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to heaven go
These were Claudius words when Hamlet found out that his father was killed when sleeping. He waits until Hamlet leaves before saying the words. It implies his unwillingness to repent of his sin, therefore, the sin will not be forgiven.
- The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
Found in Act -III, Scene-II of the play and stated by Queen Gertrude. It means that the player Queen's protestations of love and fidelity are too excessive to be believed.
- If we are true to ourselves, we can not be false to anyone.
It means that your ability to be truthful with one person only means that you will be truthful with other people too.
- I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.
In this case, he is stating that Claudius and Gertrude are mistaken. Though they think he is completely insane, he is just a little off. After all, a hawk, which is a bird, and a handsaw, which is a tool, are completely different
- To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.
In this case, Hamlet is trying to say that there aren't very many honest people in this world, so when you are honest, you are really something special.
Hamlet quotes on revenge
What does Hamlet say about revenge? Hamlet revenge quotes are probably among the most common of Shakespeare's sayings. He seems to capture the revenge theme perfectly, portraying the depth of revenge through the relationships and exchanges between the characters in his stories.
However, you need to apply wit, and probably get familiar with his style of writing to truly understand the depth of what he means. The following Hamlet quotes about revenge will leave you with something to think about. You may also get to answer the question, 'was Hamlet successful in his revenge?'
- How all occasions do inform against me, and spur my dull revenge.
This is a soliloquy from Act 4 scene 4. In this case, Hamlet is looking at the world and how everything around him points out how wrong his actions are. The aim is to inform against, which literally means to accuse.
- Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: A fellow of infinite jest.
The phrase tells us that Hamlet is contemplating the temporary nature of life, as he looks at Yorick's skull. It also implies that, though Hamlet seems to have gone mad, actually he is speaking highly meaningful sentences with Yorick.
- I must be cruel only to be kind; thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.
The context of the quote is crucial. Hamlet realizes that the person he killed was Polonius. He spoke those words above. It is obvious that Hamlet felt guilty when he realized he murdered the wrong person.
- There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.
It means that the absence of complete information leads us to believe that “things” are either good or bad when we try to think about something. It could also mean that the absence of complete information leads us to believe that “things” are either good or bad when we try to think about something
Hamlet quotes on love
Love was Shakespeare's specialty, and Hamlet is one of the books he captured this theme perfectly. Below are excellent quotes showing the same.
- I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers could not, with all their quantity of love, make up my sum.
The quote from act 5 captures several things. It heavily displays the theme of indecision that progresses throughout the play in Hamlet's life. It also captures the point where Hamlet directly challenges Laertes, bringing us later to the duel, and where the play ends. It is also an example of insanity throughout the play. In the beginning, we know that Hamlet says he is going to pretend like he is crazy, however at this point his sanity is genuinely questioned by the spectators. His actions have quite literally drawn this woman that he supposedly loves to commit suіcide. Instead of properly mourning or accepting his faults, he has a pіssing contest with Laertes over "who loved her most".
- This is the very еcstasy of love. Whose violent property foredoes itself,. And leads the will to desperate undertakings. - Act II, scene 1, line 102.
- Doubt thou the stars are fire. Doubt that the sun doth move. Doubt truth to be a liar. But never doubt I love. - Act II, Scene 2, line 115.
It is possible that a semantic ambiguity arises in the poem if Shakespeare used the word "doubt" to imply "suspect". Hamlet's love poem, then, would ask Ophelia to go ahead and suspect all proven forces of the universe but “never suspect that he loves her.
- Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear; when little fears grow great, great love grows there. - Act III, scene 2, line 181.
Love wins and dispels all forms of doubts and fear.
- A lover's eyes will gaze an eagle blind. A lover's ear will hear the lowest sound. - Act IV, scene 3, line 334.
Lovers tend to be most alert when they are truly in love.
- You cannot call it love, for at your age the heyday in the blood is tame. – Act 3, Scene 4
Hamlet means that Gertrude could not have married Claudius out of love, because at her age, sexual desire ("the heyday in the blood") has gone away, "humble" with advancing age. So because Claudius is nowhere near the man King Hamlet was, and Gertrude's sеx drive should be gone anyway, there must be some other reason why she chose to marry this man, who, Hamlet reveals to his mother, is guilty of the murder of his father.
- Love is begun by time, And time qualifies the spark and fire of it. – Act 4, Scene 7
Time makes love grow stronger.
Hamlet quotes on madness
If you have read the story, then you probably asked yourself at some point, 'does Hamlet really go mad?' Well, the following Hamlet madness quotes will give you more insight into the story's theme of madness. These also some of the quotes from Hamlet that need a deep understanding to truly appreciate their meaning. They include:
- "That I essentially am not in madness/ But mad in craft.
In this case, Hamlet admits to his mother, Gertrude, that his madness is not genuine, and is instead a form of craft. It is a cunning form of pretense. It further suggests his sanity.
- I am but mad north-north-west
Addressing the Guildenstern, he suggests that his madness is only active when it is necessary. It also suggests that he is nearing actual madness. This is means that he is on the verge of becoming truly mad and may not know the difference between sanity and insanity.
To understand this quote, context is key. Modern audiences would understand it best as Hamlet calling Polonius a ‘fishmonger’ being indicative of him having successfully feigned an ‘antic disposition. For this reason, they are likely to consider it a humorous comment. On the other hand, contemporary audiences will interpret the fishmonger epithet works on different of levels. First, a fishmonger was considered to be a womanizer. Second, a fishmonger was thought to be not only sеxually lascivious but to cause others to be the same.
Apart from the quotes above, you may also want to note a few other popular Polonius quotes. These includes:
- Brevity is the soul of wit.
It means that the essence of a witty statement lies in its concise wording and delivery.
- Method in the madness.
It means that there is always a purpose in doing something that is seemingly crazy. There is a reason for someone's strange behavior, and there is a plan behind the odd behavior of a person.
- More matter with less art.
- Neither a borrower nor a lender be.
It means do not lend or borrow money from a friend because if you do so, you will lose both your friend and your money
- To thine own self be true.
It has three meanings. The first meaning is that someone can better judge himself if he has done what he should or could have done. Secondly, it means that one must be honest in his ways and relations. The third meaning is that one must always do the right thing.
The above Hamlet quotes will teach you a thing or two about Shakespeare's style of writing. He was not only intriguing, but he had a way of playing with words to hide meaning while at the same time pass a message.