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Long live the King!

Barnardo to Francisco
the watchword
(Act 1, Scene 1, Line 3)

You are the most immediate to our throne

King Claudius to Hamlet
King is telling Hamlet not to return to school
(Act 1, Scene 2, Line 113)

O, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt, thaw, and resolve itself into dew.

A soliloquy of Hamlet
He wishes he could cease to exist
(Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 133-134)

Let me not think on't; frailty, thy name is woman!

A soliloquy of Hamlet
He hates his mother and uncle's marriage
Act 1, Scene 2, Line 150)

Neither a borrower nor a lender be

Polonius to Laertes
Polonius is giving advice to Laertes before he goes to France
(Act 1, Scene 3, Line 81)

This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man

Polonius to Laertes
If you are true to yourself, you will be true to others. More advice to Laertes before he goes to France.
(Act 1, Scene 3, Lines 84-86)

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

Marcellus to Horatio
Something is wrong in Denmark; when Hamlet goes to speak to the ghost.
(Act 1, Scene 4, Line 100)

As I perchance hereafter shall think meet to put an antic disposition on

Hamlet to Horatio
The next time Horatio sees Hamlet, Hamlet will be acting crazy

The time is out of joint. O cursed spite that ever I was born to set it right.

Hamlet to Horatio
Hamlet's world has been turned upside down.
(Act 1, Scene 5, Lines 210-211

Brevity is the soul of wit.

Polonius to King and Queen
Ironic because Polonius is never brief - says this before he tells them the reason for Hamlet's madness
(Act 2, Scene 2, Line 97)

Words, words, words.

Hamlet to Polonius
In response to Polonius question about what Hamlet is reading.
(Act 2, Scene 2, Line 210)

Though this be madness, yet there is method in't.

Polonius (aside)
What Hamlet is saying is crazy, but there is a reason for it.
(Act 2, Scene 2, Line 221)

I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.

Hamlet to Guildenstern
Hamlet is only crazy when he wants to be; it is an act, and he is fully aware of what is going on.
(Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 402-402)

More relative than this. The play's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King.

Hamlet's soliloquy
Hamlet wants to prove the King's guilt
(Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 633-634)

Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.

Ophelia to Hamlet
She doesn't want his gifts anymore because he is not who she thought he was.
(Act 3, Scene 1, Line 111)

Madness in great ones must not (unwatched) go.

King Claudius to Polonius
The King is worried for his own safety because of Hamlet's madness.
(Act 3, Scene 1, Line 202)

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Queen Gertrude to Hamlet
Speaking during the play; thinks the woman in the play should just marry the man and move on.
(Act 3, Scene 2, Line 254)

Give me some light! Away!

King Claudius to gathered company
This shows the King's guilt which is provoked by the play.
(Act 3, Scene 2, Line 295)

I will speak (daggers) to her, but use none.

Soliloquy of Hamlet
He plans to speak harshly with his mother.
(Act 3, Scene 2, Line 429)

O, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven.

King Claudius' soliloquy
His crime is horrible; he says this when trying to pray.
(Act 3, Scene 3, Line 40)

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

King Claudius
He cannot pray for forgiveness because he isn't sorry for what he has done.
(Act 3, Scene 3, Lines 102-103)

That I essentially am not in madness, but mad in craft.

Hamlet to Queen Gertrude
He is trying to convince the Queen that he is only acting, and not really mad.
(Act 3, Scene 4, Lines 209-210)

Whom I will trust as I will Adders fanged.

Hamlet to Queen Gertrude
Referring to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; doesn't trust them.
(Act 3, Scene 4, Line 226)

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

Ophelia to Laertes
Demonstrates Ophelia's lack of touch with reality and developing insanity.
(Act 4, Scene 5, Lines 199-201)

To cut his throat I' th' church.

Laertes to King Claudius
Shows Laertes' desire to kill Hamlet
(Act 4, Scene 7, Line 144)

Sweets to the sweet, farewell.

Queen Gertrude to dead Ophelia
Sweet flowers for a sweet girl
(Act 5, Scene 1, Line 254)

The cat will mew, and the dog will have his day.

Hamlet to everyone, especially Laertes
Everything will happen as it is supposed to; says this after he tell everyone he loves Ophelia

There's a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will.

Hamlet to Horatio
Our destiny is fixed, no matter what
(Act 5, Scene 2, Lines 11-12)

That I have shot my arrow o'er the house and hurt my brother.

Hamlet to Laertes
He says this to prove his innocence in killing Polonius; he is sick with madness, not his fault
(Act 5, Scene 2, Lines 257-258)

But I do prophesy the election lights on Fortinbras; he has my dying voice.

Hamlet to everyone
Says Fortinbras will be the next king.
(Act 5, Scene 2, Lines 392-393)

Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet Prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Horatio to Hamlet
His farewell to Hamlet
(Act 5, Scene 2, Lines 396-397)


words spoken to the audience so other characters cannot hear


something or someone that is not in its historical or chronological place

blank verse

unrhymed iambic pentameter


monologue made by one character alone on stage; reveals true feelings

tragic hero

hero with a tragic flaw whose death affects the course of empire with a character weakness that leads to his downfall

- Hamlet: his inability to act


some kind of comic relief

- gravedigger scene

Conflicts (external and internal)

man against man, man against nature, man against himself

- man against man: Laertes vs. Hamlet in the duel scene
- man against himself: Hamlet struggles to get the courage to act

supernatural element

something extraordinary

- the ghost

chance happening

something that occurs without planning that leads to a catastrophe

- Hamlet kills Polonius

Revenge motive

character who wants to get back at someone

- Hamlet wants revenge on King Claudius
- Laertes wants revenge on Hamlet

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