95 terms

Shakespeare Quotes

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"But soft, behold—lo where it comes again!
I'll cross it though it blast me.—Stay, illusion.
If thou hast any sound or use of voice,
Speak to me.
If there be any good thing to be done
That may to thee do ease and grace to me,
Speak to me.
If thou art privy to thy country's fate
Which happily foreknowing may avoid,
O speak!
Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
Extorted treasure in the womb of earth—
For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death—
Speak of it, stay and speak.—Stop it, Marcellus."
Speaker - Horatio
Play- Hamlet
Context - In the first encounter with the ghost, Horatio is trying to beckon it to speak and say why it has appeared, but it does not give reason as to why it has appeared before them.
Significance - During this passage, the cock crows, (how do you know this?) causing the ghost to retreat. This could be an indication that the ghost is a demon or the devil in disguise rather than the ghost of Hamlet's father. An allusion to the fact that disruptions in Denmark cause unnatural occurrences. Ghost suffering in purgatory? Coming back for buried treasure? Also suggests that there is correspondence between the ghost and political corruption. The ghost is also one of the Epistemological puzzles in the play; why is the ghost back walking around Denmark?
"Seems, madam? Nay, it is. I know not 'seems'.
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected haviour of the visage,
Together with all forms, moods, shows of grief
That can denote me truly. These indeed 'seem',
For they are actions that a man might play;
But I have that within which passeth show—
These but the trappings and the suits of woe."
Speaker - Hamlet
Context - Hamlet is speaking to his mother after she has told him that he needs to be happier and that the mourning of his dead father needs to end. Claudius tells Hamlet that it is unmanly to to mourn for this long.
Significance - Hamlet speaks about the way in which the world could "play" at being mournful (the way that the rest of the court has been doing, according to Hamlet). He also says that all of the things that his mother referenced can not show grief, as he is too deep to be judged by external judgements. This passage suggests a breakage between the inner and outer correspondence of a person (which is able to be applied in multiple instances throughout the play). For Hamlet, there is no outer appearance that could possibly show his inward depression.; it is possible that Gertrude was showing real care, but can you trust what you see on someone's face and believe that they are genuine?
"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 God, O God,
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't, ah fie, 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!"
Speaker: Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: Hamlet is alone and is delivering one of his soliloquies (the first implication of his desired suicide, in this circumstance). Furthermore, Hamlet has just spoken to Gertrude and Claudius, and responded in a way so as to merely please them and make them leave (allowing him to be alone). Hamlet has just gotten back from school and he is cut off from his inheritance, he has no father or throne.
Significance - Much of this passage reveals Hamlet's desire for a passive death (passive because he asks to "melt," "thaw," and "resolve"), for his life has been completely turned upside-down—he didn't inherit the kingship, he has just lost his father, his mother has married his own uncle, his mother and Claudius don't want him to return to Wittenburg, etc. Furthermore, he makes comparison of his father to his uncle, stating his father is great, like Hyperion, whereas his uncle is lowly, like a satyr. Lots of confusion of time and a juxtaposition of Claudius's put together speech that just happened whereas his is less controlled. We see his lack of desire to take action here as well- he wants to melt away, not actually do anything to cause his own death. Does he really want to commit suicide? That would require taking action.
"O God, a beast that wants discourse of reason
Would have mourned longer!—married with mine uncle,
My father's brother, but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules; within a month,
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing of of her gallèd eyes,
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."
Speaker: Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: This section occurs at the end of Hamlet's first soliloquy. This occurs just before Horatio, Marcellus, and Barnardo appear (which is why he says the he must "hold [his] tongue").
Significance: He is mourning over the fact that his mother seems to have forgotten his father already and the fact that the family has fallen to a state of incest (indicated by "incestuous sheets") This was very common at the time, but Hamlet feels that it is very unnatural for his mother to have sexual feelings and much more so for his uncle. Even an animal would have mourned longer. Also hints at a lack of self-worth on Hamlet's part; Hamlet is to Hercules what Claudius was to Hamlet's father.
Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts,--
O wicked wit and gifts, that have the power
So to seduce!--won to his shameful lust
The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen:
O [name], what a falling-off was there!
From me, whose love was of that dignity
That it went hand in hand even with the vow
I made to her in marriage, and to decline
Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor
To those of mine!
But virtue, as it never will be moved,
Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
So lust, though to a radiant angel link'd,
Will sate itself in a celestial bed,
And prey on garbage.
Speaker: Ghost
Play: Hamlet
Context: A part of the conversation between the ghost and Hamlet, during which the Ghost reveals the happenings of its (his?) murder.
Significance: Much of the language here is consistent with the soliloquy we heard earlier by Hamlet, which signifies the possibility that this could be part of Hamlet's imagination. The trouble with this is the fact that Horatio and Marcellus also were able to see the ghost when it appeared. Otherwise, this is significant because it confirms the dirtiness of the incest occurring in Denmark, which is what later becomes a part of Hamlet's tasks (to rid the state of Denmark of incest). Implications that the ghost could just be preying on Hamlet's sadness.
"Remember thee?
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
That youth and observation copied there,
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain
Unmixed with baser matter. Yes, yes, by heaven.
O most pernicious woman!
O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain!"
Speaker: Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: This piece of a soliloquy occurs just after Hamlet has spoken to the ghost. Immediately after, Hamlet confides in his friends Horatio and Marcellus regarding the things that were said in the conversation, but he implores them to swear that they will "never make known what [they] have seen tonight" (that they won't tell anybody), to which the ghost agrees and repeatedly says "swear" from beneath the stage.
Significance: The implications of this speech rely heavily on the way in which Hamlet gets caught up in "remembering" the ghost. He immediately decides that he will wipe everything from his brain, treating his brain as though it is a book and deciding he will wipe "all pressure past" as in the things that have already been pressed into the pages of the book. Furthermore, he continues this brain-to-book metaphor when he says that he will write down the new things ("...meet it is I set it down..."). Lastly, we could view the word "remembering" as possibly being interpreted by Hamlet as "taking revenge."
"I have of late--but
wherefore I know not--lost all my mirth, forgone all
custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily
with my disposition that this goodly frame, the
earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most
excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave
o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted
with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to
me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a
piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in
faculty, in form and moving how express and admirable, in
action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god—the
beauty of the world, the paragon of animals! And yet to me
what is this quintessence of dust?"
Speaker: Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: Hamlet reveals his inner emotions of the way in which he views humanity to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Significance: The passage states that we are celebrated as the ultimate of all animals, yet that we are merely the best of the worst. He begins to wonder whether he should admire those who act with passion or if he should follow those who act out of the baseness of emotion. Man is God like in its capacity, but Hamlet calls man the quintessence of dust, the ultimate nature of dust, or the best of the earth made creature and the pinnacle of that history. What holds man back is our materiality. We are tainted and corrupt and admire those who act on passion. He glorifies the earth and human beings, only to say that at the end of their greatness, they just become dust. Focuses on the physicality of death.
"Now I am alone.
O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstrous that the player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his whole conceit
That from her working all his visage wanned,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in 's aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? And all for nothing.
For Hecuba!
What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her? What would he do
Had he the motive and the cue for passion
That I have?"
Speaker: Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: Another of Hamlet's soliloquies, Hamlet has just seen the performance of the players and is now reflecting on the performance and how the Player King was able to evoke emotion so easily about something that isn't even related to his life whereas Hamlet cannot evoke emotions and action about something that is so real to his life.
Significance: Hamlet is upset by the fact that he is incapable of evoking his own emotion to something that is so relevant to his life after having just seen a performance that was so emotional by an actor → Hamlet is upset that the Player who gives this speech is so emotionally affected and he finds it unnatural, "monstrous"; people at this time thought that for actors to effectively act that they had to actually feel the emotions which was thought of as dangerous. He is saying that in a fiction he can force his soul to the idea that he has in his mind and from his soul all these physical things happen (pale, tears, etc)
"...He would drown the stage with tears,
And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,
Make mad the guilty and appal the free,
Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed
The very faculty of eyes and ears. Yet I,
A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak
Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing—no, not for a king
Upon whose property and most dear life
A damned defeat was made."
Speaker : Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: A continuation of Hamlet's soliloquy after seeing the actors act out his play
Significance: This is a description of Hamlet's physical incapacity to feel the things and properly move forward. Mettle - to be tough and brave. He is trying to provoke his own anger by reminding himself of all the horrible actions of Claudius.
Am I a coward?
Who calls me villain, breaks my pate across, Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face,
Tweaks me by th' nose, gives me the lie i'th throat
As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this?
Ha? 'Swounds, I should take it; for it cannot be
But I am pigeon-livered and lack gall
To make oppression bitter, or ere this
I should 'a 'fatted all the region kites
With this slave's offal."
Speaker: Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: A continuation of Hamlet's soliloquy after seeing the actors act out his play
Significance: Hamlet is imagining someone calling him a coward and all the things that someone would do to a coward (says he still must be villain) because he lacks gall; delves deeper into Hamlet's tragic flaw, his indecisiveness
"...Bloody, bawdy villain!
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!
O, vengeance!—
Why, what an ass am I? Ay, sure, this is most brave,
That I, the son of the dear murderèd,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Must, like a *****, unpack my heart with words
And fall a-cursing like a very drab,
A scullion! Fie upon't, foh!—About, my brain!
Speaker: Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: Soliloquy after seeing the actors act out his play
Significance: Hamlet is attempting to make himself angry in order to feel the emotion that he couldn't feel before, similar to how you try and force yourself to smile when you are depressed in order to make yourself happier. He feels that he is just going through the motions. Like a ***** that sells fantasies, he unpacks his heart with words.
"I have heard that guilty creatures sitting at a play
Have by the very cunning of the scene
Been struck so to the soul that presently
They have proclaimed their malefactions;
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ. I'll have these players
Play something like the murder of my father
Before mine uncle. I'll observe his looks,
I'll tent him to the quick. If a but blench,
I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
May be the devil, and the devil hath power
T'assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps,
Out of my weakness and my melancholy—
As he is very potent with such spirits—
Abuses me to damn me. I'll have grounds
More relative than this. The play's the thing Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King."
Speaker: Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: Soliloquy after seeing the actors act out his play
Significance: An instance of action (yet passive action). Murder will be confessed, if you see the murder you'll have to confess. In the play nephew kills an uncle. Very threatening. He is drawing on the belief at the time that there is a way that murder will always come out.
To be, or not to be? That is the question—
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them?
To die, to sleep—
No more—and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to—'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished! To die, to sleep.
To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.
Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
Speaker: Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: Soliloquy considering suicide
Significance: When he first conceived the idea of death, it is something to be wished, it is a fulfillment to have an extinguished consciousness and not have to think or feel. Maybe death is like sleep and you still have dreams. He wonders if we will still have thoughts and feelings in death, will he actually not get to be nothing. He's worried about the afterlife, and possibly having to go on even in death
Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be a
breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest,
but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were
better my mother had not borne me.
I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more
offences at my beck than I have thoughts to put
them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to
act them in. What should such fellows as I do
crawling between earth and heaven? We are arrant
knaves, all. Believe none of us. Go thy ways to a
nunnery."
Speaker: Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: When Ophelia has been set up and is talking to Hamlet while Claudius and her father hide
Significance: Hamlet is telling Ophelia to remove herself from society and no longer be a marriageable woman and if she is still chaste, go somewhere that will protect her and her virginity. He is saying that she cannot end up with one of them, referring to all men, because they are all corrupt, everything in Denmark is corrupt and she will be corrupted if she stays in this world. After this he starts criticizing her and another take is that nunneries at this time were corrupted by Protestants and could be seen as a brothel.; everything will corrupt you in this world, trying to cease all procreation, attacks her female qualities and putting them in the most negative light
"I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; God
has given you one face, and you make yourselves
another: you jig, you amble, and you lisp, and
nick-name God's creatures, and make your wantonness
your ignorance. Go to, I'll no more on't; it hath
made me mad. I say, we will have no more marriages:
those that are married already, all but one, shall
live; the rest shall keep as they are. To a
nunnery, go."
Speaker: Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: still speaking to Ophelia, but this is when he begins to attack her more and blame all women. Attacking all of her female traits, paintings (makeup) and associating her to all the negative traits that he associates with women. Denies that he ever loved her and blames her for all vice.
Significance: He is blaming her because she is a woman and they are the ones that bring all the negative qualities. Hamlet is associating traits of women with corruption and femininity. He wants to cease all procreation and generation to end corruption. Ophelia could function as a mirror to Hamlet's own tragedy. Says that they should end all marriages and that "all but one" shall live, meaning the "one" that won't is the marriage between Gertrude and Claudius.; this is a moral attack of her womanhood, he seems to have forgotten that she is an individual and is associating her with all women, association of corruption and vice.
"O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword;
The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
The observed of all observers, quite, quite down!
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That suck'd the honey of his music vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;
That unmatch'd form and feature of blown youth
Blasted with ecstasy: O, woe is me,
To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!"
Speaker: Ophelia
Play: Hamlet
Context: Hamlet has just left after yelling at her and now she is crying and saddened by his state. She understands what he has truly lost in his state of reason.
Significance: This is a moment of true generosity in the play--her noble qualities make this even more upsetting. Also shows that there could be more strength to Ophelia than she is given credit for. This reminds us of the traits that Hamlet and Ophelia once possessed. Sets up Ophelia as a foil and mirror to Hamlet. How much responsibility does Hamlet have for Ophelia's tragedy? Furthermore, the language here makes us rightfully question if Ophelia and Hamlet had sex or not, which is again brought up when Ophelia sings the song of a man promising to marry a woman before sleeping with her, and then leaving her.
Am I then revenged,
To take him in the purging of his soul,
When he is fit and season'd for his passage?
No!
Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent:
When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage,
Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed;
At gaming, swearing, or about some act
That has no relish of salvation in't;
Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven,
And that his soul may be as damn'd and black
As hell, whereto it goes.
Speaker: Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: Hamlet walks in to see Claudius praying and realizes that he has an opportunity to kill him.
Significance: Hamlet doesn't want to kill Claudius when he is praying and in the perfect place to be forgiven and have passage to heaven. He wants to make sure that when he kills Claudius he is damned to hell, because in his mind it would not be revenge if Claudius got to repent. While Hamlet thinks that Claudius is praying and asking for forgiveness, Claudius is actually thinking that he cannot repent when his heart wanting to repent or feeling remorse. Claudius thinks that because he is still in love with his sin that his prayer will soften him within and eventually his words will break through to heaven, but he doesn't feel different.
Sense, sure, you have,
Else could you not have motion; but sure, that sense
Is apoplex'd; for madness would not err,
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne'er so thrall'd
But it reserved some quantity of choice,
To serve in such a difference. What devil was't
That thus hath cozen'd you at hoodman-blind?
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope.
O shame! where is thy blush? Rebellious hell,
If thou canst mutine in a matron's bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax,
And melt in her own fire: proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn
And reason panders will.
Speaker: Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: Hamlet scolding/confronting his mother for her sins
Significance: He gets repeatedly distracted by his mother's sins even though the ghost has told him to leave her to heaven. He is completely disgusted by her because she didn't mourn long enough and then married her husbands brother. Hecuba in mourning for her son is a woman that understands what grief is, this in comparison to his mother causes Hamlet to have a strong reaction. He is concerned about his mother's soul. In part he is characterizing the heat of lust and desire as a rebellious hell, that heat and lust can be so powerful that it can actually take place in a matron's bone, which for her should be cold and dry. If it is will that makes her act it is one thing, but as she could be cold and is no longer young, that means that she is using reason which is wrong - alluding to a physical connection between her and Claudius that is unnatural in many ways.
That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat,
Of habits devil, is angel yet in this,
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery,
That aptly is put on. Refrain to-night,
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence: the next more easy;
For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And either [ ] the devil, or throw him out
With wondrous potency.
Speaker: Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: This occurs soon after Hamlet has killed Polonius and just before he asks Gertrude to stop allowing Claudius to treat her like his wife and to stop the incest
Significance: Hamlet here asserts that artificial changes to one's behaviour could produce real changes. This is like a reversal of what he said before, saying that the outside can not accurately portray what the inside feels ("I have that within which passeth show"). Furthermore, this leads us to question his sanity again, for if he really was just pretending to be insane before, how do we know it has not changed his true actions as he protests fake actions can do?; makes us question also why he attacks women with so much vigor; What is the role of women in this play and why is there so much anger towards them?
"Sense, sure, you have,
Else could you not have motion; but sure, that sense
Is apoplex'd; for madness would not err,
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne'er so thrall'd
But it reserved some quantity of choice,
To serve in such a difference. What devil was't
That thus hath cozen'd you at hoodman-blind?
Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope.
O shame! where is thy blush? Rebellious hell,
If thou canst mutine in a matron's bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax,
And melt in her own fire: proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn
And reason panders will."
Speaker: Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: Hamlet scolding/confronting his mother for her sins
Significance: He gets repeatedly distracted by his mother's sins even though the ghost has told him to leave her to heaven. He is completely disgusted by her because she didn't mourn long enough and then married her husbands brother. Hecuba in mourning for her son is a woman that understands what grief is, this in comparison to his mother causes Hamlet to have a strong reaction. He is concerned about his mother's soul. In part he is characterizing the heat of lust and desire as a rebellious hell, that heat and lust can be so powerful that it can actually take place in a matron's bone, which for her should be cold and dry. If it is will that makes her act it is one thing, but as she could be cold and is no longer young, that means that she is using reason which is wrong - alluding to a physical connection between her and Claudius that is unnatural in many ways. Use of Oedipus complex.
"That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat,
Of habits devil, is angel yet in this,
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery,
That aptly is put on. Refrain to-night,
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence: the next more easy;
For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And either [ ] the devil, or throw him out
With wondrous potency."
Speaker: Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: This occurs soon after Hamlet has killed Polonius and just before he asks Gertrude to stop allowing Claudius to treat her like his wife and to stop the incest
Significance: Hamlet here asserts that artificial changes to one's behaviour could produce real changes. This is like a reversal of what he said before, saying that the outside can not accurately portray what the inside feels ("I have that within which passeth show"). Furthermore, this leads us to question his sanity again, for if he really was just pretending to be insane before, how do we know it has not changed his true actions as he protests fake actions can do?; makes us question also why he attacks women with so much vigor; What is the role of women in this play and why is there so much anger towards them? Use of Oedipus Complex.
"Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death."
Speaker: Gertrude
Play: Hamlet
Context: When she is telling Laertes that Ophelia has drowned
Significance: Ophelia becomes like water, she almost melts away. In some ways she is becoming the element that is drowning her; This is one of the passive deaths that Hamlet had originally desired. How intentional is this suicide or did she simply fade into the water without any will to live? How much of this is Hamlet's fault?
"No, faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with
modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it: as
thus: Alexander died, Alexander was buried,
Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is earth; of
earth we make loam; and why of that loam, whereto he
was converted, might they not stop a beer-barrel?
Imperious Caesar, dead and turn'd to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away:
O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe,
Should patch a wall to expel the winter flaw!
But soft! but soft! aside: here comes the king."
Speaker: Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: Right before Ophelia's funeral. Hamlet has just finished talking with the skull
Significance: The idea that all people are made up of dust and in the end will return to dust. Hamlet's pessimistic view of all mankind, what is the significance of life? A leveling of all people, no matter who you are, we are all just returning to the same place. This seems to liberate him from feeling like he must script or design his own death. Can also be seen as liberating, in some ways death will allow him to return to the things he has lost--reclaiming his position as prince and as part of the court
'Swounds, show me what thou'lt do:
Woo't weep? woo't fight? woo't fast? woo't tear thyself?
Woo't drink up eisel? eat a crocodile?
I'll do't. Dost thou come here to whine?
To outface me with leaping in her grave?
Be buried quick with her, and so will I:
And, if thou prate of mountains, let them throw
Millions of acres on us, till our ground,
Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
Make Ossa like a wart! Nay, an thou'lt mouth,
I'll rant as well as thou.
Speaker: Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: When Hamlet is in the grave arguing with Laertes that he was the only one that truly loved Ophelia and therefore can be the only one to truly mourn her death
Significance: Hamlet is making a scene because he now has to deal with the fact that he is not the primary mourner anymore. Also shows that he has no understanding that he is somewhat responsible for her death, but he seems to be overcompensating for the guilt that he feels. This is symbolic of the theme that there is disengagement from things once they leave our hands. How much guilt should someone feel for something that happens as a result of something else?
Not a whit, we defy augury: there's a special
providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now,
'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be
now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the
readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he
leaves, what is't to leave betimes?
Speaker: Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: Horatio is warning Hamlet that he will lose the duel and Hamlet tells him that he is going to leave it up to fate/he must
Significance: Hamlet has a new view of death. God oversees everyone's life and death. Is this willingness to approach death a sign that he has merely been resisting fate the entire time?
But pardon't, as you are a gentleman.
This presence knows,
And you must needs have heard, how I am punish'd
With sore distraction. What I have done,
That might your nature, honour and exception
Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.
Was't Hamlet wrong'd 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.
Who does it, then? His madness: if't be so,
Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd;
His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.
Speaker: Hamlet
Play: Hamlet
Context: Hamlet is apologizing to Laertes before they duel
Significance: Hamlet is claiming that when he was not himself, his wrongs are not his but instead the wrongs of someone else (his madness) - but we still do not know if he was ever really mad or if it was just an act. It is not actually an apology or acceptance of responsibility because Hamlet is saying that Laertes should feel bad for him. In the end it is unknown whether Hamlet just has nothing more to say or he is expressing that both rest and silence await him in the death that he is soon seeking.
"The element itself till seven years' heat
Shall not behold her face at ample view,
But like a cloistress she will veilèd walk
And water once a day her chamber round
With eye-offending brine—all this to season
A brother's dead love, which she would keep fresh
And lasting in her sad remembrance."
---
"O, she that hath a heart of that fine frame
To pay this debt of love but to a brother
How will she love when the rich golden shaft
Hath killed the flock of all affections else
That live in her—when liver, brain, and heart,
These sovereign thrones, are all supplied, and filled
Her sweet perfections with one self king!"
Speaker: Valentine
Context: The beginning of the play, Valentine is commenting on the emotional state of Olivia
Significance: The grief of Olivia is portrayed as being extremely excessive, stating that she will cry every day and hide herself away from society for seven years. Furthermore, the language indicates a type of sympathy toward her. This excessive grieving is keeping her from society, when she should be out getting married--putting a lot of pressure on her. Comic perspective of grief and mourning compared to the tragic Hamlet.
Speaker: Orsino
Context: Orsino thinks that he is responding to Olivia's grief
Significance: He proclaims that those that are sad are attractive. He says if she loves a brother like this, how would she act if he filled her up with his love? He is seen as a narcissistic person. Phallic hints with the golden shaft. He claims that this complete consummation of his love for her will transform her. The play is about displacing/replacing; shows how he is narcissistic because you don't get much sense of who he loves but he loves love.
Make me a willow cabin at your gate,
And call upon my soul within the house;
Write loyal cantons of contemned love
And sing them loud even in the dead of night;
Halloo your name to the reverberate hills
And make the babbling gossip of the air
Cry out 'Olivia!' O, You should not rest
Between the elements of air and earth,
But you should pity me!
Speaker: Viola (Cesario)
Play: Twelfth Night
Context: Olivia falls in love with Cesario. As Cesario, Viola talks about what she would do if she were Orsino (trying to woo Olivia)
Significance: It's something quite sad about this speech. Willows were seen as a sense of mourning. Relates to the myth of Narcissus. Echo fell in love with Narcissus. Cesario is seen as both of them. It symbolizes grieving and mourning for the other half. This speech represents how mourning can play into love, and perhaps exemplifies the attraction to melancholy found throughout the play. Cesario's example of wooing could apply both to her grief over Sebastian's death or the wishes of her unrequited love for Orsino. Because Orsino has clearly been depicted as narcissistic, the imagery of Echo and Narcissus applies to that relationship as well. This melancholic imagery strikes a chord with the grieving Olivia, and sparks her interest in Cesario. represents a displaced desire and substitution and in some ways a criticism of Orsino's ability to woo
A blank, my lord. She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i' the bud,
Feed on her damask cheek: she pined in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy
She sat like patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed?
We men may say more, swear more: but indeed
Our shows are more than will; for still we prove
Much in our vows, but little in our love.
Speaker: Viola (as Cesario)
Play: Twelfth Night
Context: Orsino claims that men's love is stronger than women's and Cesario counters with a story about his "sister."
Significance: Viola argues that men's love is in their words but does not compare to the real love of women. Viola is in a trap because she is caught in her disguise. Is she more emotionally trapped than anything? Arguably, she has an attachment to Cesario, because it reminds her of Sebastian.
Cesario argues that simply because women do not show their love in the same way that men do does not mean that they do not love as strongly. Her story of her "sister" reflects her current state of interest in Orsino which is impossible to reveal or requite. Her reference to statues suggests that she is waiting out her grief before revealing herself to Orsino. She also states that Orsino needs to take more actions than words to prove his love.
The language also reflects the theme as the idea of a monument shows the mourning she is still feeling as an illusion to a grave
Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago:
In following him, I follow but myself;
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so, for my peculiar end:
For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In compliment extern, 'tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.
Speaker: Iago
Play: Othello
Context: Iago is explaining to Roderigo why he follows Othello.
Significance: Iago is saying that he is only a servant to himself. Iago is manipulating his Duke to think that he has a chance of winning Desdemona. If ever Iago shows on the outside what he feels inside, he has made a fool of himself. He will never show who he really is. The language shows that he has devilish characteristics because "O am not what I am" is reminiscent of a Biblical phrase, but it is reversed
It is too true an evil: gone she is;
And what's to come of my despised time
Is nought but bitterness. Now, Roderigo,
Where didst thou see her? O unhappy girl!
With the Moor, say'st thou? Who would be a father!
How didst thou know 'twas she? O she deceives me
Past thought! What said she to you? Get more tapers:
Raise all my kindred. Are they married, think you?
Speaker: Brabantio
Play: Othello
Context: The is just after Brabantio has gone to check to see if Desdemona is still in her room or if she has really left as Roderigo and Iago have said
Significance: This is the first moment that Brabantio references a betrayal by Desdemona, and is therefore the root of all the references that he later makes (including the statement he says to Othello about Desdemona betraying her father, and thus having the ability to betray Othello). Thus, this can be seen as one of the root moments for the growing jealousy and doubt present in the play. Desdemona is playing the typical comic heroine by running away from her father. *It should also be noticed that he is less worried about color and prejudice but rather upset that Desdemona is gone and has deceived him.
Let him do his spite:
My services which I have done the signiory
Shall out-tongue his complaints. 'Tis yet to know,--
Which, when I know that boasting is an honour,
I shall promulgate--I fetch my life and being
From men of royal siege, and my demerits
May speak unbonneted to as proud a fortune
As this that I have reach'd: for know, [name,
But that I love the gentle [name],
I would not my unhoused free condition
Put into circumscription and confine
For the sea's worth. But, look! what lights come yond?
Speaker: Othello
Play: Othello
Context: Right before Othello's trial where he has been accused of using magic to make Desdemona fall in love with him and then marry him
Significance: Shows how Othello is a calm and controlled character. Wholeness of Othello at the moment shows how divided he then becomes by Iago later on. The services that he has done for the Venetian government count for more than these complaints will. He also says that he comes from a royal family as well and deserves Desdemona. Also if he did not love her so much he wouldn't marry her because in marriage you lose freedoms. The Othello we met is nothing like the Othello that was described to us by Iago and Roderigo.
Her father loved me; oft invited me;
Still question'd me the story of my life,
From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes,
That I have passed.
I ran it through, even from my boyish days,
To the very moment that he bade me tell it;
Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances,
Of moving accidents by flood and field
Of hair-breadth scapes i' the imminent deadly breach,
Of being taken by the insolent foe
And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence
And portance in my travels' history:
Wherein of antres vast and deserts idle,
Rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads touch heaven
It was my hint to speak,--such was the process;
And of the Cannibals that each other eat,
The Anthropophagi and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders.
Speaker: Othello
Play: Othello
Context: Othello is defending his marriage to Desdemona in front of the Duke and Desdemona's father
Significance: Desdemona could only love Othello because of witchcraft. Her father was exocticizing him and making him a foreign racial commodity. Represents natural vs unnatural love. Othello tells stories by telling stories that clearly shows his intelligence and great way with words. Talks about the commodities of Africa and becomes a commodity himself with his stories. He wooed Desdemona using the magic of his stories. speaks with a showmanship and awareness of his audience, the troupe of the traveler's stories-- they are always hard to believe because they are so full of wonder. Incorporates racism by making Africans monsters (cannibals) and physical monsters ("Whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders").
Would Desdemona seriously incline:
But still the house-affairs would draw her thence:
Which ever as she could with haste dispatch,
She'd come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse: which I observing,
Took once a pliant hour, and found good means
To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart
That I would all my pilgrimage dilate,
Whereof by parcels she had something heard,
But not intentively: I did consent,
And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke
That my youth suffer'd.
Speaker: Othello
Play: Othello
Context: Othello is defending his marriage to Desdemona in front of the Duke and Desdemona's father
Significance: Desdemona was busy with housework so she didn't get to hear all his stories. "Greedy ear" shows Rhetoric of a hunger of passion in Desdemona which is a troubling sign in women and although is a beautiful attribute here it later becomes a point of conflict. Desdemona expressed her desire to be a man and live that life.
My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs:
She swore, in faith, twas strange, 'twas passing strange,
'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful:
She wish'd she had not heard it, yet she wish'd
That heaven had made her such a man: she thank'd me,
And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story.
And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake:
She loved me for the dangers I had pass'd,
And I loved her that she did pity them.
This only is the witchcraft I have used:
Here comes the lady; let her witness it.
Speaker: Othello
Play: Othello
Context: This is when Othello is trying to explain that he did not use any wrongdoing in making Desdemona fall in love with him. Furthermore, Desdemona appears at the end of this speech (as indicated by "Here comes the lady; let her witness it").
Significance: The implication of this speech contains a section in which the audience has to question whether Desdemona means she wants to be a man or whether she wants a man in her life;
That I did love the Moor to live with him,
My downright violence and storm of fortunes
May trumpet to the world: my heart's subdued
Even to the very quality of my lord:
I saw Othello's visage in his mind,
And to his honour and his valiant parts
Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate.
So that, dear lords, if I be left behind,
A moth of peace, and he go to the war,
The rites for which I love him are bereft me,
And I a heavy interim shall support
By his dear absence. Let me go with him.
Speaker: Desdemona
Play: Othello
Context: Desdemona is revealing her love for Othello and that is is true, not of magic or malicious properties
Significance: The passage underscores the intimacy and immateriality of the relationship. The intimacy and genuity of their love is shown in how Desdemona says she "Saw Othello's visage in his mind". Natural progression of love from a father to a husband.
Vouch with me, heaven, I therefore beg it not,
To please the palate of my appetite,
Nor to comply with heat--the young affects
In me defunct--and proper satisfaction.
But to be free and bounteous to her mind:
And heaven defend your good souls, that you think
I will your serious and great business scant
For she is with me: no, when light-wing'd toys
Of feather'd Cupid seal with wanton dullness
My speculative and officed instruments,
That my disports corrupt and taint my business,
Let housewives make a skillet of my helm,
And all indign and base adversities
Make head against my estimation!
Speaker: Othello
Context: Othello is speaking to the Duke after Desdemona has revealed that the love is true
Significance: Here, Othello says that he will not allow the love of Desdemona to get in the way of his duty as a soldier. Shows how Othello is too old to be heated by sexual desires but wants a spiritual connection like the one he has with Desdemona. Shows the blaming of females as scapegoats for ruining men's work; has a need to articulate emotional over physical; not plagued by the dullness of being lovesick
Virtue! a fig! 'tis in ourselves that we are thus
or thus. Our bodies are our gardens, to the which
our wills are gardeners; so that if we will plant
nettles, or sow lettuce, set hyssop and weed up
thyme, supply it with one gender of herbs, or
district it with many, either to have it sterile
with idleness, or manured with industry, why,
the power and corrigible authority of this lies in
our wills. If the balance of our lives had not one
scale of reason to poise another of sensuality, the
blood and baseness of our natures would conduct
us to most preposterous conclusions: but we have
reason to cool our raging motions, our carnal stings,
our unbitted lusts, whereof I take this that you call
love to be a sect or scion.
Speaker - Iago
Context - Roderigo has just asked Iago what to do because he loves Desdemona
Significance - Within this passage, Iago tells Roderigo that it is ridiculous to feel any love by putting forth the philosophy of how he manages his own internal emotions and also by equating it with lust (unbitted lust, carnal stings, raging motions, etc.)--there is no toom for virtue in either. There is a kind of baseness in everything. He uses the metaphor of a garden to create a glossy cover to Iago's control of emotions. (Is Iago also saying how easily manipulated our minds are?); he is describing a kind of hyper control that we know from his soliloquies that he does not have
These Moors are changeable in
their wills: fill thy purse with money: --the food
that to him now is as luscious as locusts, shall be
to him shortly as bitter as coloquintida. She must
change for youth: when she is sated with his body,
she will find the error of her choice: she must
have change, she must: therefore put money in thy
purse. If thou wilt needs damn thyself, do it a
more delicate way than drowning. Make all the money
thou canst: if sanctimony and a frail vow betwixt
an erring barbarian and a supersubtle Venetian be not
too hard for my wits and all the tribe of hell, thou
shalt enjoy her; therefore make money.
Speaker: Iago
Play: Othello
Context: After Roderigo leaves Iago fully explains his plan against Othello
Significance: Iago urges Roderigo to continue wooing Desdemona so that he (Iago) can continue utilizing Roderigo for his own purposes. Furthermore, the repetition of the "make money" phrases shows that Iago can continue to make money off of Roderigo as well, so he repeats this to try and make it a point in Roderigo's mind. Also, the framing of Desdemona as a "supersubtle Venetian" and Othello as an "erring barbarian" shows Iago's contempt for the relationship, placing Desdemona as someone who is super-sensitive and Othello as someone who is barbaric.
I hate the Moor:
And it is thought abroad, that 'twixt my sheets
He has done my office: I know not if't be true;
But I, for mere suspicion in that kind,
Will do as if for surety. He holds me well;
The better shall my purpose work on him.
Cassio's a proper man: let me see now:
To get his place and to plume up my will
In double knavery--How, how?--Let's see:--
After some time, to abuse Othello's ear
That he is too familiar with his wife.
He hath a person and a smooth dispose
To be suspected, framed to make women false.
The Moor is of a free and open nature,
That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,
And will as tenderly be led by the nose
As asses are.
I have't. It is engender'd. Hell and night
Must bring this monstrous birth to the world's light.
Speaker: Iago
Play: Othello
Context: This is a soliloquy of Iago's after he has urged Roderigo to continue wooing Desdemona
Significance: Iago expresses the weaknesses he can turn on other people (virtue → vice) . Bizarre conscious thought. Turns mere suspicion into a surety because the possibility of believing it makes him believe it and believing it is therefore a frame to move forward. Cassio is good attractive and young man so it is believable that he would have a fling with Desdemona. Othello not a suspicious person so can mold that. Conceived a monstrous notion.
It gives me wonder great as my content
To see you here before me. O my soul's joy!
If after every tempest come such calms,
May the winds blow till they have waken'd death!
And let the labouring bark climb hills of seas
Olympus-high and duck again as low
As hell's from heaven! If it were now to die,
'Twere now to be most happy; for, I fear,
My soul hath her content so absolute
That not another comfort like to this
Succeeds in unknown fate.
Speaker: Othello
Play: Othello
Context: Othello arrives on shore and greets Desdemona
Significance: Othello expresses how this is the happiest he has ever been and wants stillness but Desdemona expresses an increase in happiness but Othello fears his heart will burst from that excess happiness. Shows Othello's attachment to keeping things still and right where they are-- uncertainty is very troublesome for him
That Cassio loves her, I do well believe it;
That she loves him, 'tis apt and of great credit:
The Moor, howbeit that I endure him not,
Is of a constant, loving, noble nature,
And I dare think he'll prove to Desdemona
A most dear husband. Now, I do love her too;
Not out of absolute lust, though peradventure
I stand accountant for as great a sin,
But partly led to diet my revenge,
For that I do suspect the lusty Moor
Hath leap'd into my seat; the thought whereof
Doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw my inwards
Speaker: Iago
Play: Othello
Context: Iago is planning his deception of Othello
Significance- he is restating that it doesn't matter is Des and Cassio actually have an affair all that matters is that it would be believable; Iago expresses his love for Desdemona which in a way allows him to manipulate her and it makes his revenge more powerful. It shows how the only love Iago can feel is the inverse destruction of love and can produce intimacy in no other way. He has begun to split Othello's wholeness by using other people's good qualities against him. He also tricks himself into believing that his wife definitely cheated on him so that poison feeds his greater plot.
I do beseech you--
Though I perchance am vicious in my guess,
As, I confess, it is my nature's plague
To spy into abuses, and oft my jealousy
Shapes faults that are not--that your wisdom yet,
From one that so imperfectly conceits,
Would take no notice, nor build yourself a trouble
Out of his scattering and unsure observance.
It were not for your quiet nor your good,
Nor for my manhood, honesty, or wisdom,
To let you know my thoughts.
Speaker: Iago
Play: Othello
Context: Iago is using reverse psychology to create suspicion in Othello
significance: Iago says he is a jealous person and that he sees faults where there are none so don't be like him. Of course he is lying and is trying to get Othello to have that very characteristic so tricking him into that disposition by feeding him the very notion; he trying to get Othello to ask him what he is talking about
'Tis not to make me jealous
To say my wife is fair, feeds well, loves company,
Is free of speech, sings, plays and dances well;
Where virtue is, these are more virtuous:
Nor from mine own weak merits will I draw
The smallest fear or doubt of her revolt;
For she had eyes, and chose me. No, Iago;
I'll see before I doubt; when I doubt, prove;
And on the proof, there is no more but this,--
Away at once with love or jealousy!
Speaker: Othello
Play: Othello
Context: Othello's response to Iago's previous speech about Desdemona potentially being unfaithful
Significance: Othello says he is not going to get jealous over nothing. Just because Desdemona is warm, loving, and hungry shouldn't spur jealousy. Anticipation to Othello's distaste for uncertainty, won't be in a waking state.
Receive it from me. I speak not yet of proof.
Look to your wife; observe her well with Cassio;
Wear your eye thus, not jealous nor secure:
I would not have your free and noble nature,
Out of self-bounty, be abused; look to't:
I know our country disposition well;
In Venice they do let heaven see the pranks
They dare not show their husbands; their best conscience
Is not to leave't undone, but keep't unknown.
Speaker: Iago
Play: Othello
Context: Iago to Othello, putting his plan into action
Significance: Here Iago is training Othello to be a jealous person because he has never experienced it before. Transitioning Othello to a state of uncertainty. Iago is reinforcing a stereotype about women and Venetian women in specific that they sleep around and are not trustworthy. Why would Desdemona love your blackness when there are so many more suitable Venetian men around who suit her better? prejudicial statements about women in general
Ay, there's the point: as--to be bold with you--
Not to affect many proposed matches
Of her own clime, complexion, and degree,
Whereto we see in all things nature tends--
Foh! one may smell in such a will most rank,
Foul disproportion thoughts unnatural.
But pardon me; I do not in position
Distinctly speak of her; though I may fear
Her will, recoiling to her better judgment,
May fall to match you with her country forms
And happily repent.
Speaker: Iago
Play: Othello
Context: Iago convincing Othello that Desdemona is being unfaithful
Significance: Iago is trying to convince Othello that it is unnatural for Venetian women to love his blackness. What is the nature of attraction? Like to like or hidden temperament? Since Desdemona went after something unlike her she must be unnatural and strange. Soul connection between the two forgotten. Soon she will come back to her senses and react against her unnatural decision.
I will in [name]'s lodging lose this napkin,
And let him find it. Trifles light as air
Are to the jealous confirmations strong
As proofs of holy writ: this may do something.
The Moor already changes with my poison:
Dangerous conceits are, in their natures, poisons.
Which at the first are scarce found to distaste,
But with a little act upon the blood.
Burn like the mines of Sulphur. I did say so:
Speaker: Iago
Play: Othello
Context: Emilia has given the handkerchief that Othello gave to Desdemona and given it to Iago
Significance: Iago's plan is working; he plans to take it one step further by "losing" Desdemona's handkerchief in Cassio's room. Compares jealousy to a poison that has little to no effect at first, but burns once it reaches the blood; the proof of infidelity needs only to be light and trivial because it is impossible to prove fidelity
Lie with her! lie on her! We say lie on her, when
they belie her. Lie with her! that's fulsome.
--Handkerchief--confessions--handkerchief!--To
confess, and be hanged for his labour;--first, to be
hanged, and then to confess.--I tremble at it.
Nature would not invest herself in such shadowing
passion without some instruction. It is not words
that shake me thus. Pish! Noses, ears, and lips.
--Is't possible?--Confess--handkerchief!--O devil!--
Speaker: Othello
Play: Othello
Context: Just before Othello's epileptic fit. He is speaking to Iago
Significance: Othello is degrading further. The thought of Desdemona's infidelity renders him incapable of normal speech and sends him into a fit. He is now less the man he was at the beginning of the play and more the man who murders Desdemona at the end of the play. Iago's poison has produced a divided self in Othello Also, "nature would not...without some instruction" means "It isn't natural that I would feel so strongly unless there were a cause", Othello convinces himself that the accusation is true
Soft you; a word or two before you go.
I have done the state some service, and they know't.
No more of that. I pray you, in your letters,
When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,
Nor set down aught in malice: then must you speak
Of one that loved not wisely but too well;
Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought
Perplex'd in the extreme
Speaker: Othello
Play: Othello
Context: The truth has come out, Othello is going to be taken away but after this speech he kills himself
significance: Othello knows that they will report what has happened, he asks that they not exaggerate or use malice when describing him, but to make sure everyone knows he was driven to extreme jealousy by Iago; justifying the loss of himself; interesting that he chooses to talk about himself and not his sorrow at losing Desdemona
Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes,
Albeit unused to the melting mood,
Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees
Their medicinal gum. Set you down this;
And say besides, that in Aleppo once,
Where a malignant and a turban'd Turk
Beat a Venetian and traduced the state,
I took by the throat the circumcised dog,
And smote him, thus.
Speaker: Othello
Play: Othello
Context: Speaking to the crowd at large before committing suicide
Significance: Othello compares himself to an uncivilized "Indian" throwing away a valuable pearl. As soon as Othello finishes speaking he stabs himself; split by his own self murder--imagery completes the split of his psyche
"A sailor's wife had chestnuts in her lap,
And munch'd, and munch'd, and munch'd:--
'Give me,' quoth I:
'Aroint thee, witch!' the rump-fed ronyon cries.
Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o' the Tiger:
But in a sieve I'll thither sail,
And, like a rat without a tail,
I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do."
Speaker: First Witch
Play: Macbeth
Context: introduction of the witches
Significance: We learn that the witches can control winds, and that they are petty - first witch is going to go bother a woman's husband just because she wouldn't share her chestnuts. This passage reveals that the witches are vengeful creatures that don't necessarily mind where their revenge falls. Despite the fact that the wife is the one who does not give the chestnuts, the husband is the one to suffer, which points to the global nature of all of the problems in the play; create disarray in their environments but there is a strange disconnect with what they have power over
"I myself have all the other,
And the very ports they blow,
All the quarters that they know
I' the shipman's card.
I will drain him dry as hay:
Sleep shall neither night nor day
Hang upon his pent-house lid;
He shall live a man forbid:
Weary se'nnights nine times nine
Shall he dwindle, peak and pine:
Though his bark cannot be lost,
Yet it shall be tempest-tost."
Speaker: First witch
Play: Macbeth
Context: The first witch describes the revenge she will take upon the sailor whose wife would not give her chestnuts.
Significance: The witches can also control sleep. What implications does this have about Macbeth's lack of sleep and Lady Macbeth's sleepwalking later in the play? Men's lives are implicated by women's actions. Contributes to his machine like actions and erratic behavior
Two truths are told,
As happy prologues to the swelling act
Of the imperial theme.--I thank you, gentlemen.
Cannot be ill, cannot be good: if ill,
Why hath it given me earnest of success,
Commencing in a truth? I am thane of Cawdor:
If good, why do I yield to that suggestion
Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair
And make my seated heart knock at my ribs,
Against the use of nature? Present fears
Are less than horrible imaginings:
My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
Shakes so my single state of man that function
Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is
But what is not.
Speaker: Macbeth
Play: Macbeth
Context: Macbeth has just learned that one of the witches' predictions has come true
Significance: He is happy that he is thane of Cawdor, but the thought of becoming King (by murdering the current king) is terrifying to him. Murder is, as of now, just a fantasy--and a scary one. As an addition, no one told Macbeth he had to murder Duncan; he comes up with that idea himself. His immediate thoughts of murder bring into question how much of this play is controlled by magic/fates and how much of it is controlled by Macbeth and his actions. The phrase, "and nothing is. But what is not" also points to the disruptions of nature and politics that his future actions will cause; if this is a good prophesy from the witches, he questions why he is having this physical response and seeing such terrible images in his head ; his thoughts may be under the influence of the witches
"That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood;
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature's mischief!"
Speaker: Lady Macbeth
Play: Macbeth
Context: Soliloquy before Macbeth enters
Significance: Lady Macbeth calls on evil spirits to possess her and make her evil enough to do what she believes must be done (murder). Was she successful?? Possible that all her actions from this point on are those of evil spirits; she is firm in her resolve to go through with this. Lady Macbeth calls on spirits (not necessarily evil, although the implication is clear), and asks them to unsex her (not to make her a man). This turns her into one of the "monstrous" in-between genders, which might allow her to perform monstrous acts such as murder. This sort of invocation is common to Lady Macbeth's pattern of voicing threats without being able to act on them as seen throughout the play. One example of this is that Lady Macbeth taunts Macbeth's manhood to get him to kill Duncan because she can't do it herself: "had he not resembled my father as he slept/ I had done it". This passage contributes to the play's overarching themes regarding gender and the role of magic and spirits in controlling a person's actions (as far as we know, the spirits may or may not have come). Witches are also in an uncharacterizable state, so she is in some ways turning herself into a supernatural entity
"If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
It were done quickly: if the assassination
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
With his surcease success; that but this blow
Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
We'd jump the life to come. But in these cases
We still have judgment here; that we but teach
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice
To our own lips."
Speaker: Macbeth
Play: Macbeth
Context: Duncan has just arrived at Macbeth's house
Significance: Macbeth says that if killing Duncan would be the end of it, he would have no doubts. However, he is aware that there must be other consequences to the murder of a king. "bloody instructions" will return to plague their inventor. Basically, what goes around comes around; Macbeth is worried about the consequences of his actions ; realizes it might not be as successful as he would hope-- if he could kill him then stop time he would because he has no children and doesn't want to imagine time as it moves forward. Macbeth just wants to kill Duncan without having to reflect on his actions or worry about his moral integrity. He wants to cut off all aspects of remorse or conscience. He considers these feelings a burden to his "vaulting ambition". It was mentioned in lecture that Hamlet and Macbeth are inverses of one another. Macbeth just wants to act without thinking about the consequences; Hamlet does not want to act because of the consequences. Because he doesn't want his conscience to have a part in anything, Macbeth becomes internally fragmented, an automaton where he is just acting with no moral reflection whatsoever.
Methought I heard a voice cry 'Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep', the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleeve of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast,--
Speaker: Macbeth
Play: Macbeth
Context: right after Macbeth has killed Duncan
Significance: Macbeth has murdered an innocent man while he was sleeping and therefore he will never sleep again. Is he imagining it or are the witches taking sleep away from him?; is this a curse or is it an allusion to the unrest he will be subjected to? Since Macbeth killed Duncan in his sleep, he literally killed sleep, and so it's a fit punishment that he should sleep no more. it's not clear where this voice is coming from. It could be a preternatural phenomena, a cosmic force he has let in by killing Duncan. His lack of sleep could be a symptom of something supernatural he has invited in his life.
"What man dare, I dare:
Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,
The arm'd rhinoceros, or the Hyrcan tiger;
Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves
Shall never tremble: or be alive again,
And dare me to the desert with thy sword;
If trembling I inhabit then, protest me
The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow!
Unreal mockery, hence!"
Speaker:Macbeth
Play: Macbeth
Context: Macbeth has just seen Banquo's ghost at banquet
Significance: This is a sign of the cosmos being alive, indicating that men have less control over their actions and are more at the will of other forces.; Macbeth starts chastising himself which shows the effect Lady Macbeth has on him-- he would rather see any other form of the shadow
"Time, thou anticipatest my dread exploits:
The flighty purpose never is o'ertook
Unless the deed go with it; from this moment
The very firstlings of my heart shall be
The firstlings of my hand. And even now,
To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done:
The castle of Macduff I will surprise;
Seize upon Fife; give to the edge o' the sword
His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls
That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool;
This deed I'll do before this purpose cool.
But no more sights!--Where are these gentlemen?
Come, bring me where they are."
Speaker: Macbeth
Play: Macbeth
Context: aside while speaking to Lennox (just before he decides to have Macduff's son and wife murdered)
Significance: again Macbeth states that he must act without thinking; he decides to kill Macduff's wife and children; turning himself on automatic where he is all action and no thought; idea of the eye winking at the hand
"'Tis call'd the evil:
A most miraculous work in this good king;
Which often, since my here-remain in England,
I have seen him do. How he solicits heaven,
Himself best knows: but strangely-visited people,
All swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye,
The mere despair of surgery, he cures,
Hanging a golden stamp about their necks,
Put on with holy prayers: and 'tis spoken,
To the succeeding royalty he leaves
The healing benediction."
Speaker: Malcolm
Play: Macbeth
Malcolm and Macduff are in England discussing Scotland's current condition under Macbeth's rule and what they should do about it; Malcolm tells Macduff of King Edward's healing powers
Significance: a disease called the "evil" is going around, and it is believed that the mere touch of king Edward can heal it
We were as twinn'd lambs that did frisk i' the sun,
And bleat the one at the other: what we changed
Was innocence for innocence; we knew not
The doctrine of ill-doing, nor dream'd
That any did. Had we pursued that life,
And our weak spirits ne'er been higher rear'd
With stronger blood, we should have answer'd heaven
Boldly 'not guilty;' the imposition clear'd
Hereditary ours.
Speaker: Polixenes
Play: The Winter's Tale
Context: Polixenes is telling Hermione about his childhood with Leontes
Significance - He is stating that he and Leontes shared that time of life when they could both protest to being completely pure. Furthermore, there is a strong sense of closeness present in this passage, as the phrases "twinn'd lambs" and "what we changed / Was innocence for innocence" indicate; a kind of sameness with an emphasis on their innocence-- there is no need for language when they know and understand all the same things
"Too hot, too hot!
To mingle friendship far is mingling bloods.
I have tremor cordis on me: my heart dances;
But not for joy; not joy. This entertainment
May a free face put on, derive a liberty
From heartiness, from bounty, fertile bosom,
And well become the agent; 't may, I grant;
But to be paddling palms and pinching fingers,
As now they are, and making practised smiles,
As in a looking-glass, and then to sigh, as 'twere
The mort o' the deer; O, that is entertainment
My bosom likes not, nor my brows! Mamillius,
Art thou my boy?"
Speaker: Leontes
Play: The Winter's Tale
Context: Leontes is watching Hermione and Polixenes speaking to each other
Significance: Leontes thinks that Hermione and Polixenes are having an affair. He then asks his Mamillus if he is actually his son. There is no real evidence for an affair as far as we can see, he just kind of made it up. "brows" calls to mind a cuckold's horns
"Come, sir page,
Look on me with your welkin eye: sweet villain!
Most dear'st! my collop! Can thy dam?--may't be?
Affection! thy intention stabs the centre:
Thou dost make possible things not so held,
Communicatest with dreams;--how can this be?--
With what's unreal thou coactive art,
And fellow'st nothing: then 'tis very credent
Thou mayst co-join with something; and thou dost,
And that beyond commission, and I find it,
And that to the infection of my brains
And hardening of my brows."
Speaker: Leontes
Play: The Winter's Tale
Context: Looking at Mamillius, wondering if he is really Mamillius' father
Significance: It shows a type of breakdown of logic after the "passions"appear. There is a trouble with the word "affection" in the text, as it is not merely just a kindness among people, but it is feelings and intention, along with the "affects" brought upon by it. Furthermore, the implications of the "coactive" line says that if the situation is able to be worked out of nothing, then it has to be something. In this circumstance, he is basically talking himself into his own suspicions; feeling becomes the basis of his own evidence
"Looking on the lines
Of my boy's face, methoughts I did recoil
Twenty-three years, and saw myself unbreech'd,
In my green velvet coat, my dagger muzzled,
Lest it should bite its master, and so prove,
As ornaments oft do, too dangerous:
How like, methought, I then was to this kernel,
This squash, this gentleman. Mine honest friend,
Will you take eggs for money?"
Speaker: Leontes
Play: The Winter's Tale
Context: Speaking to Mamillius
Significance: He says that looking at his son's face takes him back to when he was a young boy. "dagger muzzled" may have a sexual meaning: he was not sexually active yet as a young boy. Here Leontes expresses his longing for childhood and the simple friendships he had before the introduction of women into his life. He desires to be Mamillius, and if not that, for Mamillius to value the portion of his life and the same-sex bonding that occurs in this period. Both fear and longing are expressed
"There have been,
Or I am much deceived, cuckolds ere now;
And many a man there is, even at this present,
Now while I speak this, holds his wife by the arm,
That little thinks she has been sluiced in's absence
And his pond fish'd by his next neighbour, by
Sir Smile :), his neighbour: nay, there's comfort in't
Whiles other men have gates and those gates open'd,
As mine, against their will."
Speaker: Leontes
Play: The Winter's Tale
Context: Speaking to Mamillius, but really to himself
Significance: He says that there have been cuckolds before and many men today are cuckolds. He identifies with these people and finds comfort in the fact that other men are also being cheated on by their wives
"Is whispering nothing?
Is leaning cheek to cheek? is meeting noses?
Kissing with inside lip? stopping the career
Of laughing with a sigh?--a note infallible
Of breaking honesty--horsing foot on foot?
Skulking in corners? wishing clocks more swift?
Hours, minutes? noon, midnight? and all eyes
Blind with the pin and web but theirs, theirs only,
That would unseen be wicked? is this nothing?
Why, then the world and all that's in't is nothing;
The covering sky is nothing; Bohemia nothing;
My wife is nothing; nor nothing have these nothings,
If this be nothing."
Speaker: Leontes
Play: The Winter's Tale
Context: Speaking to Camillo, voicing his suspicions about Hermione
Significance: he is building something out of nothing, then sarcastically telling Camillo that if the affair is "nothing" (which it is), then the whole country is "nothing" as well; attaching himself to things he thinks are evidence of his beliefs; he starts with physical things that he can see but generates to things about which he knows very little--like the wishes of others; collapse of everything on the basis of one belief
"Alack, for lesser knowledge! how accursed
In being so blest! There may be in the cup
A spider steep'd, and one may drink, depart,
And yet partake no venom, for his knowledge
Is not infected: but if one present
The abhorr'd ingredient to his eye, make known
How he hath drunk, he cracks his gorge, his sides,
With violent hefts. I have drunk,
and seen the spider."
Speaker: Leontes
Play: The Winter's Tale
Context: Leontes laments the "knowledge" that Hermione is having an affair with Polixenes
Decides that Camillo and Polixenes are guilty after they have ran away and has affirmed his suspicions of Hermione. Leontes storms in angrily. tricky little spider.
Significance: Leontes believes he would rather not suspect a thing then know that he is a cuckold. This is ironic considering that he appears to have conjectured the whole thing himself and could just as easily not suspect a thing. This draws back to his over inflamed passions and tendency to build something out of nothing. This passage also draws on the ideas of the time that in order for poison (i.e. from a spider) to be effective, the affected person would have to know about the spider/poison. Knowledge hurries along the activity-- describes a kind of world where mind and body are not completely separated.
"Why, what need we
Commune with you of this, but rather follow
Our forceful instigation? Our prerogative
Calls not your counsels, but our natural goodness
Imparts this; which if you, or stupefied
Or seeming so in skill, cannot or will not
Relish a truth like us, inform yourselves
We need no more of your advice: the matter,
The loss, the gain, the ordering on't, is all
Properly ours."
Speaker: Leontes
Play: The Winter's Tale
Context: Leontes is asserting his power as King and trying to convince his counsellors to agree with him in regard to Hermione's fidelity or lack thereof.
Significance: This is the first instance of Leontes's tyranny. As the "head" of the state, Leontes appears to be ignoring the other body parts in favor of a growing suspicion. This disconnect causes great chaos in the form of the loss of Mamillius and Perdita, the heirs, and the "death" of Hermione, the King's means of producing more heirs.
"Thou, traitor, hast set on thy wife to this.
My child? away with't! Even thou, that hast
A heart so tender o'er it, take it hence
And see it instantly consumed with fire;
Even thou and none but thou. Take it up straight:
Within this hour bring me word 'tis done,
And by good testimony, or I'll seize thy life,
With what thou else call'st thine. If thou refuse
And wilt encounter with my wrath, say so;
The bastard brains with these my proper hands
Shall I dash out. Go, take it to the fire;
For thou set'st on thy wife."
Speaker: Leontes
Play: The Winter's Tale
Context: Leontes sends Antigonus to burn Perdita.
Significance: Believing Perdita a bastard, Leontes sends Antigonus, whom he believes has arranged for Paulina to bring Perdita to him, to burn the baby. Not only does this passage show his tyranny, but it also shows the heartless passion that has overtaken him. The tragedy in the first half of the play continues to build as the baby is placed in increased dangers with little chance of rescue.
"Fie, daughter! when my old wife lived, upon
This day she was both pantler, butler, cook,
Both dame and servant; welcomed all, served all;
Would sing her song and dance her turn; now here,
At upper end o' the table, now i' the middle;
On his shoulder, and his; her face o' fire
With labour and the thing she took to quench it,
She would to each one sip. You are retired,
As if you were a feasted one and not
The hostess of the meeting"
Speaker: Old Shepherd
Play: The Winter's Tale
Context: The Shepherd urges Perdita to be a better hostess.
Significance: Perdita is being pushed to act in a way that Hermione (her real mother) behaved. A way that Hermione came under criticism for.
"Yet nature is made better by no mean
But nature makes that mean: so, over that art
Which you say adds to nature, is an art
That nature makes. You see, sweet maid, we marry
A gentler scion to the wildest stock,
And make conceive a bark of baser kind
By bud of nobler race: this is an art
Which does mend nature, change it rather, but
The art itself is nature."
Speaker: Polixenes
Play: The Winter's Tale
Context: Polixenes and Perdita discuss mixing of social classes disguised as mixing of flower types.
Significance: Ironically, although Polixenes is in favor of creating hybrid flowers using language that could also relate to humans, he highly disapproves of his son being in love with a common woman. In this passage, mixing flowers (and hence classes) is depicted as an act of nature and an art. This comparison relates to the play's themes regarding the distinction between art and nature, if one exists. There is a way you can't distinguish between art and nature. He is intentionally telling his story in a cyclical way because it doesn't have to be completely rational.
My brother and thy uncle, call'd Antonio--
I pray thee, mark me--that a brother should
Be so perfidious!--he whom next thyself
Of all the world I loved and to him put
The manage of my state; as at that time
Through all the signories it was the first
And Prospero the prime duke, being so reputed
In dignity, and for the liberal arts
Without a parallel; those being all my study,
The government I cast upon my brother
And to my state grew stranger, being transported
And rapt in secret studies. Thy false uncle--
Dost thou attend me?
Speaker: Prospero
Play: The Tempest
Context: Prospero tells Miranda the story of how they came to the island
Significance - A large portion of this passage's significance lies in the fact that it is the first time that Miranda has heard the tale despite living with no one but her father and Caliban for nearly her whole life. This fact indicates Prospero's utter control of the situation and what enters into his daughter's head. He also expresses anger towards Antonio in this passage, but later in the play this anger appears to no longer matter and the "revenge" is taken in the form of Miranda returning to civilization with a higher rank than she left with.
Being once perfected how to grant suits,
How to deny them, who to advance and who
To trash for over-topping, new created
The creatures that were mine, I say, or changed 'em,
Or else new form'd 'em; having both the key
Of officer and office, set all hearts i' the state
To what tune pleased his ear; that now he was
The ivy which had hid my princely trunk,
And suck'd my verdure out on't. Thou attend'st not.
Speaker: Prospero
Play: The Tempest
Context: Prospero continues to tell Miranda how they arrived at the island.
Significance: Prospero's insistence on Miranda's attention reveals his want for an audience. In his tale, Prospero also represents himself as a gatherer of knowledge, but not necessarily an actor upon that knowledge. His inability to physically rule cost him his throne, and his ability to manipulate on the island is what wins him his position back. Antonio replaced his subjects and Prospero
I pray thee, mark me.
I, thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated
To closeness and the bettering of my mind
With that which, but by being so retired,
O'er-prized all popular rate, in my false brother
Awaked an evil nature; and my trust,
Like a good parent, did beget of him
A falsehood in its contrary as great
As my trust was; which had indeed no limit,
A confidence sans bound.
Speaker: Prospero
Play: The Tempest
Context Prospero is STILL telling Miranda how they arrived at the island.
Significance: see above with an addition about the nature of evil; Prospero suggests that his own inaction awakened Antonio's evil nature, suggesting both internal and environmental elements contribute to a person's character. He is creating a narrative that is favorable to him but admitting flaw.
To every article.
I boarded the king's ship; now on the beak,
Now in the waist, the deck, in every cabin,
I flamed amazement: sometime I'd divide,
And burn in many places; on the topmast,
The yards and bowsprit, would I flame distinctly,
Then meet and join. Jove's lightnings, the precursors
O' the dreadful thunder-claps, more momentary.;
And sight-outrunning were not; the fire and cracks
Of sulphurous roaring the most mighty Neptune
Seem to besiege and make his bold waves tremble,
Yea, his dread trident shake.
Speaker: Ariel
Play: The Tempest
Context: Ariel describes the damage he did on the ship and how he made it wreck.
Significance: Ariel's power is demonstrated in this speech. As an air spirit, Ariel can cause rough waters and fuel fires; he even alludes to the god Neptune when describing his acts, but despite these powers he is not free.
This blue-eyed hag was hither brought with child
And here was left by the sailors. Thou, my slave,
As thou report'st thyself, wast then her servant;
And, for thou wast a spirit too delicate
To act her earthy and abhorr'd commands,
Refusing her grand hests, she did confine thee,
By help of her more potent ministers
And in her most unmitigable rage,
Into a cloven pine; within which rift
Imprison'd thou didst painfully remain
A dozen years; within which space she died
Speaker: Prospero
Play: The Tempest
Context: Prospero reminds Ariel of his previous life with Sycorax
Significance: Although Prospero acts as a tyrant towards Ariel, he claims that his treatment of Ariel is infinitely superior to Ariel's treatment under Sycorax. Sycorax interfered with Ariel's nature by asking him to do earthy tasks and by trapping him in a pine tree. Later, Prospero also threatens to entrap Ariel in a tree if he does not follow orders, revealing that, at least in respect to his servants, Prospero is not much different from Sycorax.
Dull thing, I say so; he, that Caliban
Whom now I keep in service. Thou best know'st
What torment I did find thee in; thy groans
Did make wolves howl and penetrate the breasts
Of ever angry bears: it was a torment
To lay upon the damn'd, which Sycorax
Could not again undo: it was mine art,
When I arrived and heard thee, that made gape
The pine and let thee out.
Speaker: Prospero
Play: The Tempest
Context: Ariel has been complaining that Prospero promised him his freedom and has not given it to him yet.
Significance: Prospero is saying that he is not the tyrant that Ariel's last master was. Yet Prospero uses similar techniques as Sycorax to get Ariel to do what he wants him to do. He uses fear and intimidation. There are limitations to Prospero's power, he can make Ariel do what he wants, but he can't make Ariel want to do what he is telling him to do. Prospero's treatment of the island's inhabitants lend themselves to the themes of colonialism and tyranny.
I must eat my dinner.
This island's mine, by Sycorax my mother,
Which thou takest from me. When thou camest first,
Thou strokedst me and madest much of me, wouldst give me
Water with berries in't, and teach me how
To name the bigger light, and how the less,
That burn by day and night: and then I loved thee
And show'd thee all the qualities o' the isle,
The fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place and fertile:
Cursed be I that did so! All the charms
Of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, light on you!
For I am all the subjects that you have,
Which first was mine own king: and here you sty me
In this hard rock, whiles you do keep from me
The rest o' the island.
Speaker: Caliban
Play: The Tempest
Context: Caliban does not want to do what Prospero is asking him to do
Significance: Caliban has a memory of what his relationship with Prospero used to be like when he and Miranda first came to the island. Recalls the kind of interactions that explorers had with the native populations in the new world. First there are gifts and then there is cruelty. Just because someone occupies a piece of land does not mean that that land is theirs. If the land is not being used then it does not belong to anyone.
Abhorred slave,
Which any print of goodness wilt not take,
Being capable of all ill! I pitied thee,
Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour
One thing or other: when thou didst not, savage,
Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like
A thing most brutish, I endow'd thy purposes
With words that made them known. But thy vile race,
Though thou didst learn, had that in't which
good natures
Could not abide to be with; therefore wast thou
Deservedly confined into this rock,
Who hadst deserved more than a prison.
Speaker: Miranda
Play: The Tempest
Context: Miranda and Prospero are trying to get Caliban's participation.
Significance: Is Caliban a savage or can he learn? Miranda has taught him language but is insisting that he cannot learn goodness. He is resistant on a moral level. Looking at the difference between nature and nurture. Some texts also attribute this speech to Prospero, claiming that it is out of character for Miranda.
"Where should this music be? i' the air or the earth?
It sounds no more: and sure, it waits upon
Some god o' the island. Sitting on a bank,
Weeping again the king my father's wreck,
This music crept by me upon the waters,
Allaying both their fury and my passion
With its sweet air: thence I have follow'd it,
Or it hath drawn me rather. But 'tis gone.
No, it begins again."
Speaker: Ferdinand
Context: Ferdinand is following Ariel and his song.
Significance:Ferdinand is grieving for his father and the music Ariel is singing is making him believe that his father is dead. It is forcing him to move forward (both literally and figuratively) and think about what comes next.
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell
Burthen Ding-dong
Hark! now I hear them,--Ding-dong, bell.
Speaker: Ariel
Play: The Tempest
Context: Ariel's song is leading Ferdinand to Prospero and Miranda
Significance: Song suggest that instead of the dead fading away, they are transformed into something new. Something wonderful is going to come of Alonso's death. This is hinting at the upcoming emotional transformation of Alonso instead of a physical transformation.
Silence! one word more
Shall make me chide thee, if not hate thee. What!
An advocate for an imposter! hush!
Thou think'st there is no more such shapes as he,
Having seen but him and Caliban: foolish wench!
To the most of men this is a Caliban
And they to him are angels.
Speaker: Prospero
Play: The Tempest
Context: Miranda has just seen Ferdinand, the first human she has ever seen except herself and her father
Significance: Prospero is already setting up the conditions for Miranda to rebel against him and to fall for Ferdinand. Prospero feels that if he shows some resistance towards the two lovers and cause an obstacle for them to overcome then their love will be stronger.
"Beseech you, sir, be merry; you have cause,
So have we all, of joy; for our escape
Is much beyond our loss. Our hint of woe
Is common; every day some sailor's wife,
The masters of some merchant and the merchant
Have just our theme of woe; but for the miracle,
I mean our preservation, few in millions
Can speak like us: then wisely, good sir, weigh
Our sorrow with our comfort."
Speaker: Gonzalo
Play: The Tempest
Context: Alonso is grieving and Gonzalo is trying to cheer him up.
Significance: Alonso has been the most affected by Prospero's magic. Gonzalo is trying to comfort Alonso by telling him he should be happy because he is alive. It is a miracle they are alive, a miracle only ever experiences by few people. Their loss is common.
You cram these words into mine ears against
The stomach of my sense. Would I had never
Married my daughter there! for, coming thence,
My son is lost and, in my rate, she too,
Who is so far from Italy removed
I ne'er again shall see her. O thou mine heir
Of Naples and of Milan, what strange fish
Hath made his meal on thee?
Speaker: Alonso
Play: The Tempest
Context: Alonso is grieving over the loss of his son and his daughter now that she has been married off.
Significance: Alonso now feels that he has lost both his daughter and his son. Pay back from Prospero who almost lost his daughter when Alonso turned against him.
I' the commonwealth I would by contraries
Execute all things; for no kind of traffic
Would I admit; no name of magistrate;
Letters should not be known; riches, poverty,
And use of service, none; contract, succession,
Bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none;
No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil;
No occupation; all men idle, all;
And women too, but innocent and pure;
No sovereignty;--
Speaker: Gonzalo
Play: The Tempest
Context: Gonzalo is trying to comfort Alonso over the loss of his son.
Significance: It is the civilized who are barbaric and the barbarians who are more civilized. Things should be done the opposite of how they are presently being done.
What have we
here? a man or a fish? dead or alive? A fish:
he smells like a fish; a very ancient and fish-
like smell; a kind of not of the newest Poor-
John. A strange fish! Were I in England now,
as once I was, and had but this fish painted,
not a holiday fool there but would give a piece
of silver: there would this monster make a
man; any strange beast there makes a man:
when they will not give a doit to relieve a lame
beggar, they will lazy out ten to see a dead
Indian. Legged like a man and his fins like
arms!
Speaker: Trinculo
Play: The Tempest
Context: Trinculo and Stefano have just come across Caliban
Significance: Caliban is exotic and strange looking. Like a dead Indian (something that would be strange back in England) He is more exotic than an Indian in England, more exotic but not quite human. He is a monster.
Why, as I told thee, 'tis a custom with him,
I' th' afternoon to sleep: there thou mayst brain him,
Having first seized his books, or with a log
Batter his skull, or paunch him with a stake,
Or cut his wezand with thy knife. Remember
First to possess his books; for without them
He's but a sot, as I am, nor hath not
One spirit to command: they all do hate him
As rootedly as I. Burn but his books.
He has brave utensils,--for so he calls them--
Which when he has a house, he'll deck withal
Speaker: Caliban
Play: The Tempest
Context: Caliban is trying to convince Trinculo and Stephano to kill Prospero for him.
Significance: Caliban wants prospero's books because they are what is magical, not Prospero. He is hiring Stephano and Trinculo to kill Prospero for him and to steal the books. In return he will give them Miranda.
"Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again."
Speaker: Caliban
Play: The Tempest
Context: Caliban has just arranged to have Prospero killed and his magic book brought to him. Caliban is telling Trinculo and Stephano of the island's wonders.
Significance: Caliban best articulates how art can have power. The music is a comfort for caliban because it allows him to forget he is enslaved by Prospero, but the music is created by prospero. The dreams have created the rebellious Caliban. He dreams of all that he could have if he was not under Prospero's control.
But remember--
For that's my business to you--that you three
From Milan did supplant good Prospero;
Exposed unto the sea, which hath requit it,
Him and his innocent child: for which foul deed
The powers, delaying, not forgetting, have
Incensed the seas and shores, yea, all the creatures,
Against your peace. Thee of thy son, Alonso,
They have bereft; and do pronounce by me:
Speaker: Ariel
Play: The Tempest
Context: Ariel has appeared as a harpy to Alonso and the others.
Significance: Alonso is going to pay for what he did to Prospero and his child. He threatened Miranda's life by casting him away, and so the loss of his son is what he deserves. A child for a child.
O, it is monstrous, monstrous:
Methought the billows spoke and told me of it;
The winds did sing it to me, and the thunder,
That deep and dreadful organ-pipe, pronounced
The name of Prospero: it did bass my trespass.
Therefore my son i' the ooze is bedded, and
I'll seek him deeper than e'er plummet sounded
And with him there lie mudded.
Speaker: Alonso
Play: The Tempest
Context: Prospero has just cast his spell on Alonso and the others.
Significance: Alonso has a death wish. He has just married off his daughter and essentially lost her. Now he has lost his son. He wishes to be buried deeper than his son is. He has this death wish because he has realized that his crimes against Prospero are the reason why his son is dead.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep. Sir, I am vex'd;
Speaker: Prospero
Play: The Tempest
Context: in the middle of the party he has thrown for Ferdinand and Miranda
Significance: Prospero is more concerned with philosophical things than with Caliban's plot to kill him. Everything will fade, everything is unsubstantial. Is this shakespear's consideration of what he produces (his plays) his legacy? He thinks that he will not be remembered after he is gone. Performances do not exist, actors are all spirits. A play though, is art, it has a great deal of impact and power.
And mine shall.
Hast thou, which art but air, a touch, a feeling
Of their afflictions, and shall not myself,
One of their kind, that relish all as sharply,
Passion as they, be kindlier moved than thou art?
Though with their high wrongs I am struck to the quick,
Yet with my nobler reason 'gaitist my fury
Do I take part: the rarer action is
In virtue than in vengeance: they being penitent,
The sole drift of my purpose doth extend
Not a frown further. Go release them, Ariel:
My charms I'll break, their senses I'll restore,
And they shall be themselves.
Speaker: Prospero
Play: The Tempest
Context: Ariel is going to go get Alonso and the others so Prospero can relieve the spell they are under.
Significance: He is willing to break the spell he has put everyone under because now they feel sorry for what they did to him before. He is the same as them, he feels the same pain they do. He is not pure evil, instead he realizes right from wrong and knows that he should do the right thing and let them go.
"Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves,
And ye that on the sands with printless foot
Do chase the ebbing Neptune and do fly him
When he comes back; you demi-puppets that
By moonshine do the green sour ringlets make,
Whereof the ewe not bites, and you whose pastime
Is to make midnight mushrooms, that rejoice
To hear the solemn curfew; by whose aid,
Weak masters though ye be, I have bedimm'd
The noontide sun, call'd forth the mutinous winds,
And 'twixt the green sea and the azured vault
Set roaring war: to the dread rattling thunder"
Speaker: Prospero
Play: The Tempest
Context: the end of the play. Prospero is about to give up his magic
Significance: his magic has come from the help of those magical creatures who live on the island. He has done so much with their help. This passage utilizes magical language like that in Macbeth, which incorporates lots of natural elements.
"By my so potent art. But this rough magic
I here abjure, and, when I have required
Some heavenly music, which even now I do,
To work mine end upon their senses that
This airy charm is for, I'll break my staff,
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
And deel than did ever plummet sound
I'll drown my book."
Speaker: Prospero
Play: The Tempest
Context: He has just released Alonso and the other from where he had them trapped.
Significance: Prospero must give up his magic to go back to life off of the island. The source of his magic is not in the robe or staff he wears and uses when he casts his magic, but in the book he has. In drowning the book he is giving up the magic not only for himself but for everyone. The book will be destroyed allowing no one to ever use it for magic again. The book represents the quest for knowledge that isolated him from the world. By disposing of it, he commits to ruling Milan.
"Whether thou best he or no,
Or some enchanted trifle to abuse me,
As late I have been, I not know: thy pulse
Beats as of flesh and blood; and, since I saw thee,
The affliction of my mind amends, with which,
I fear, a madness held me: this must crave,
An if this be at all, a most strange story.
Thy dukedom I resign and do entreat
Thou pardon me my wrongs. But how should Prospero
Be living and be here?"
Speaker: Alonso
Play: The Tempest
Context: Prospero has just revealed who he really is to everyone
Significance: Alonso is asking for forgiveness. He is giving Prospero his dukedom back. He is amazed that Prospero is alive, not sure if what is happening is real or not.
... she is mortal;
But by immortal Providence she's mine:
I chose her when I could not ask my father
For his advice, nor thought I had one. She
Is daughter to this famous Duke of Milan,
Of whom so often I have heard renown,
But never saw befSirore; of whom I have
Received a second life; and second father
This lady makes him to me.
Speaker: Ferdinand
Play: The Tempest
Context: This is when Ferdinand is telling Alonso that he is in love with Miranda
Significance: Prospero is Ferdinand's second father now. This is the moment of emotional gratitude that Prospero has been wanting all along. Receiving this appreciation allows him not to take revenge on Antonio and to return to Milan to rule (thus giving up his magical rule to regain his political rule)