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Hamlet Close Analysis

Categories: Hamlet
“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
Speaker: Gertrude
Spoken to: Hamlet
Situation: the queen is watching the play that Hamlet had the actors put on. Hamlet asks his mom what she thinks of the play because he knows that the play should trigger something is her moral conscience. In the play the player queen refuses to remarry after her husband has died. Hamlet thinks Gertrude should be more like this
Meaning: The queens reply means that she believes the player queen was too dramatic about never remarrying and that she protested too much against it.

The queen does not see the great harm in remarrying.

“O, my prophetic soul”
Act 1 Scene 5 Line 42
Speaker: Hamlet
Spoken to: the Ghost
Situation: Right after the ghost revealed to Hamlet the story of his father’s murder done by his uncle Hamlet says this because he had predicted or had a feeling that his uncle was the murderer.
Meaning: Hamlet exclaims that he has a prophetic soul because prophetic means predicting and Hamlet predicted earlier that his uncle had something to do with his fathers’s death.

Hamlet is not happy that his prediction is correct so he is cursing the fact that his hunch became a reality.
Language: prophetic: accurately describing or predicting what will happen in the future

“Do not as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven”
Act 1 Scene 3 Lines 47-48
Speaker: Ophelia
Spoken to: Laertes
Situation: Laertes was explaining to Ophelia why she should not be with Hamlet.

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The reasons were that Hamlet will one day be King and will put the well being of the state before Ophelia. Also if Hamlet and Ophelia get together, it will make Ophelia un pure and ruined for any other man. Ophelia’s line is her response to Laertes warnings to be safe and to not rebel.
Meaning: Ophelia is telling Laertes not to be a hypocrite. She is saying not not be like a priest who acts holy and then does bad deeds. She is saying that Laertes is only showing her the difficult way to heaven while others have the easy way.
Language: satire: on the church, “Steep and thorny”: nature imagery

“My words fly up, my thoughts remain below.
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.”
Act 3 Scene 3 Lines: 97-98
Speaker: Claudius
Spoken to: himself because Hamlet has already left the room
Situation: Claudis is praying to God asking forgiveness and reconciling his sins. Hamlet overhears this so Hamlet decides not to kill Claudis. Then right after Hamlet leaves Claudius admits that his prayers were not honest.
Meaning: Claudius means that although he said this prayer he did not mean all the words he prayed. Because there was no honestly behind the words, they will not go to heaven.
Language: It is a rhymed couplet
Dramatic irony: we hear Claudius say this, but Hamlet just misses it.
Personification: on “words” and on “thoughts”
“O, that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!”
Act 1 Scene 2 Lines 129-130
Speaker: Hamlet
Spoken to: no one, Soliloquy
Situation: Hamlet says this line right after Claudius and Gertrude leave. The King and the Queen were talking to Hamlet and making sure that he stopped grieving and that he stayed in Elsinore. Hamlet’s soliloquy is a response to the disgust he feels towards the king and the queen.
Meaning: Hamlet wishes that he would not have to be alive to deal with the anguish caused by his father’s death and his mother’s remarriage. He wishes he could just melt away and not be alive anymore.
Language: decay imagery
Metaphor: comparing his body to ice (something that is solid, then thaws, melts, and turns into dew.
“This visitation is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose”
Speaker: Ghost
Spoken to: Hamlet
Situation: Hamlet is alone with Gertrude and he is yelling at her and scolding her for all her wrong doings. The ghost appears only to happen during this scene.
Meaning: The reason for the ghost’s visit is to sharpen Hamlet’s almost blunted purpose. Or in other words, to get Hamlet back on trap and to make sure he does not do anything he would regret like injuring or killing his mother.
Language: Knife imagery
Whet: sharpen, renew
Blunted: dull, gone, wrong
“What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba
That he should weep for her?”
Act 2 Scene 2 Lines 559-560
Speaker: Hamlet
Spoken to: Soliloquy
Situation: Right after the play in acted out, Hamlet questions the play and how it relates to his life. Hamlet feels guilty because he has not yet done anything to avenge his fathers death. He is very upset with himself and decides that he must take action.
Meaning: Hamlet is questioning the play in relation to his own mother and Claudius. He is thinking what made him weep for her.
Language: Personification: Hecuba was a queen in Greek mythology who had 19 children
.”There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance;
Pray, love, remember.”
Act 4 Scene 5 Lines 179-180
Speaker: Ophelia
Spoken to: King, Queen, and Laertes
Situation: Ophelia has gone crazy after her father’s death and Hamlet’s actions. Ophelia enters the room singing a song and not making sense. She is holding all these flowers and hands them to the people in the room.
Meaning: Ophelia is giving out the rosemary and saying that it is for remembrance then she pleads for them to love and remember. The meaning of these lines in unclear because Ophelia s is mad and her actions do not represent coherent thoughts.
Language: garden imagery
“Brevity is the soul of wit”
Act 2 Scene 2 Line 90
Speaker: Polonius
Spoken to: Gertrude
Situation: Polonius is trying to explain to the Queen the cause of Hamlet’s lunacy.
Meaning: Briefness is at the heart of intelligence.
Language: irony and humor because Polonius says this but he is a person who is not brief but usually overly ostentatious
“O, from this time forth, my thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!”
Act 4 Scene 4 Line 67
Speaker: Hamlet
Spoken to: soliloquy
Situation: Fortinbras arrives at the castle with his army as they March to Poland. Hamlet sees how Fortinbras has taken action to restore the honor of his father’s kingdom and Hamlet is jealous.
Meaning: Hamlet realizes that if he wants to get revenge he must stop stalling and do it. Hamlet is swearing to himself that he will devote all time and thoughts toward a plan to finally kill Claudius.
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”
Act 1 Scene 4 Line 90
Speaker: Marcellus
Spoken to: Horatio
Situation: Hamlet, Horatio, and Marcellus see the ghost. The ghosts beckons Hamlet away and wants to speak to him alone. Marcellus and Horatio deplore Hamlet not to go alone with the ghost because it might be an evil spirit. Hamlet goes anyway leaving Marcellus and Horatio shaken up.
Meaning: Something is not right in Denmark. Something is about to go terribly wrong.
Language: decay imagery
“Thus conscience does make cowards of us all”
Act 3 Scene 1 Line 84
Speaker: Hamlet
Spoken to: Soliloquy
Situation: This soliloquy is said right before Ophelia and Hamlet have their conversation that is planned to be overheard by Polonius and Claudius. Hamlet is still very upset with himself and the situation he is in. Hamlet is still considering suicide/ is very depressed.
Meaning: Hamlet is saying that his conscience is what stops him from immediately killing Claudius. Hamlet knows he must kill Claudius but Hamlet struggles to because his thoughts make him afraid to kill.
Language: personifies “conscience”
“How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience.”
Act 3 Scene 1 Line 51
Speaker: King Claudius
Spoken to: no one because it is an aside
Situation: This is right before Ophelia is sent to go talk to Hamlet while the others listen. Gertrude is hoping that the cause of Hamlet’s madness is indeed his love for Ophelia. Then Polonius says the line, “with devotion’s visage and pious action we do sugar o’er the devil himself.” Claudis has a reaction to this line because Claudis has tried to cover up his bad need
Meaning: The speech that Polonius said is like a stingy slap to my conscience.
Language: metaphor: comparing a stingy slap or a hit to something that hits to conscience. Claudius” conscience was not literally slapped it just felt like that to him.
“How all occasions do inform against me
And spur my dull revenge.”
Act 4 Scene 4 Lines 33-34
Speaker: Hamlet
Spoken to: soliloquy
Situation: This soliloquy and these lines take place right after Hamlet has an interaction with Fortinbras and his captain. Fortinbras is leading his army to Poland to reinstate the honor of the his father’s kingdom,
Meaning: Hamlet sees what Fortinbras is doing and realizes he needs to be doing more. The actions of Fortinbras have informed Hamlet and allowed him to refocus on revenge against Claudius.
Language: metaphor: compares Hamlet’s revenge to a dull knife that needs to be sharpened.
“Though this be madness, yet there is method in it.”
Act 2 Scene 2 Line 205-206
Speaker: Polonius
Spoken to: no one, aside
Situation: Hamlet and Polonius are having a discussion. Hamlet is having fun with Polonius and pretending to be mad. Polonius still believes Hamlet is mad for his love for Ophelia.
Meaning: Polonius recognizes that Hamlet is mad but he believes that there is some kind of meaning or greater plan behind the madness.
“To cut his throat in th” church.”
Act 4 Scene 7 Line 127
Speaker: Laertes
Spoken to: King Claudius
Situation: the king and Laertes are plotting their revenge on Hamlet
Meaning: Laertes is saying that he hates Hamlet so much and wants revenge so much that he would even be willing to kill Hamlet in a church. (Hamlet himself had too great of a conscience to kill Claudis while he was praying in the church).
“Now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on.”
Act 3 Scene 2 Lines 389-391
Speaker: Hamlet
Spoken to: soliloquy
Situation: Hamlet is getting ready to speak to Gertrude.
Meaning: Now I could do something as awful as drinking hot blood because it is nighttime and one cannot do these sorts of things during the brightness of day
Language: bitter business- alliteration
Personification of “day”
“O what a noble mind is here o’erthrown”
Act 3 Scene 1 Line 153
Speaker: Ophelia
Spoken to: Soliloquy (blank verse)
Situation: this soliloquy is said right after Hamlet and Ophelia talk. Hamlet is speaks harshly towards Ophelia and upsets her.
Meaning: It is a pity that a great mind like Hamlet’s has turned mad.
“…the devil hath power
T’ assume a pleasing shape.”
Act 2 Scene 2 Lines 600-601
Speaker: Hamlet
Spoken to: Soliloquy #3
Situation: Hamlet has decided to perform the play with the same situation as his father’s murder
Meaning: Hamlet wants to make sure that his uncle is the murderer. This is why Hamlet is going to study Claudius’ reaction to the play. Hamlet wants to do this because he believes that the devil could have disguised himself as the ghost of his dad. Hamlet wants to make sure the ghosts actually was his dad and was honest.
“This above all, to thine own self to true,
And it must follow and the night the day
Thou canst not them be false to any man.”
Act 1 Scene 3 Lines 78-80
Speaker: Polonius
Spoken to: Laertes
Situation: Polonius is giving Laertes advice before he returns to school in Paris.
Meaning: Polonius’ advice is: be true to yourself, and just like day follows after every night, you must never be false to anyone.
black verse- unrhymed iambic pentameter
used sparingly usually rhymed couplets to indicate the end of a scene of important speech
priam passage
mouse trap play
common people speak prose and hamlet speaks prose when talking to them. prose is also used to indicate deceit or
character speaking thoughts aloud to him/herself
-reveals inner feelings, character
short line that is spoken to the side so that other characters in the scene do not her
play within a play
“the murder of Gonzago”
“the mouse trap play
five acts subdivided into scenes of various lengths
-exposition, complication, turning point, resolution, denoument
comic relief scenes
graveyard/grave digger
character foiil
a character who sets off another they are often similar in significant ways and in similar circumstances, but each behaves differently and thus is a foil to the other.
-laertes and fortinbras
verbal, situational, dramatic, puns
a finishing stroke; anything that effectually ends or settles
discharge, release, inactivity
language that appeals to the senses. describes things in a way that gives the reader or playgoer a sense of how to respond to the people, events, and ideas being presented. alerts us of the kind of world shakepeare is trying to create.
-determining right from wrong
queen in play that mourned heavily for deceased husband
-hamlet thinks gertrude should have mourned like Hecuba
pun example
what’s the matter?
an unweeded garden
on Fortune’s cap we are not the very button
not at the height of happiness
thy face is valanced
pigeon livered
mortal coil
adders fanged
rosencrantz and guidenstern
hoist with his own petard
tricked by his own deception
ore among a mineral of metals base
even for an egg shell
valueless object
false danish dogs
disloyal subjects
wormwood, wormwood
a short tale to make
in summary
tears seven times salt
great grief
sprinkle cool patience
calm yourself
the bird of dawning
sucked the honey of his music vows
enjoyed his courtship
it out-herods Herod
it is overacted
garments, heavy with their drink
cudgel thy brains
not a mouse stirring
old mole
my two school fellows
rosencrantz and guildenstern
sweet prince
thou incestuous, murderous damned Dane
said by Ghost
this water-fly
thou wretched, rash, intruding fool
his wholesome brother
hamlet sr.
my young lady and mistress
pretty lady
my switzers
o rose of may
goodman delver
grave digger
a whoreson mad fellow
a ministering angel
honest soldier
freinds to this groud and liegemen to the dane
horatio and marcellus
the ambitious Norway
our sometime sister
our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son
dead corse
hamlet sr.
thou nobel youth
most pernicious woman
villain, villain, smiling, damned villain
freinds, scholars, and soldiers
“a little more than kin, and less than kind”
speaker: Hamlet
spoken to: Gertrude
meaning: more related now, but less natural
– shows Hamlet is disgusted
“frailty thy name is woman”
soliloquy 1
talking about Gertrude because she was uncontrollable and needed a man
“do not,as some ungracious pastors do, show me the steep and thorny way to heaven, while like a puffed and reckless libertine himself the primrose path of dalliance treads and recks not his own rede”
Gertrude to Laertes
-do not be a hypocrite
-libertine: does whatever they want
-hard way to heaven while you take easy one
writing tablets
more matter with less art
-cut to the chase
Troyian sees Queen Dido and tell her about Trojan war and killing of Priam who was killed in war by Pyrrhus who chopped him into pieces
-Hecuba mourns heavily
30 years old
Why does Hamlet delay the murder so much?
1. external difficulties
2. sentimental dreamer- rather than a do-er
3. victim of excessive melancholy- depressed
4. suffering Oedipus complex- identifies with Claudius because it is what he wished he could do
5. only motivated by ambition- wants throne
6. hamlet mislead by ghost- its a sin to kill
grave yard scene
act 5 scene 1
center of the play/ turning point
Act 3 Scene 3
“let not the royal bed of Denmark be a couch for luxury and incest
said by: Ghost
spoken to: Hamlet
about: Claudius
“Leave her to heaven and to those thorns that in her bosom lodge, to prick and sting her
-leave her to her own guilt and suffering and let her die naturally
-said by Ghost to Hamlet
“The time is out of joint. O cursed spite that ever i was born to set it right!”
-said by Hamlet
-horatio, marcellus, and ghost are in the area
-things in Denmark are not what they should be. Hamlet is angry that he is the one who has to kill in order to set it right
“or ere this i should have fatted all the region kites
– i should have made all the birds of prey take the kings guts before this.
“Tis too much proved- that with devotion’s visage and pious action we do sugar over the devil himself”
-Polonius to king
“Thus conscience does make cowards of us all”
“I will speak daggers to her, but use none. My tongue and soul in this by hyprocties
hamlet talking about Gertrude
“And do such bitter business as the day would quake to look on
“For tis the sport to have the enginer hoist with his own petard and it shall go hard but i will delve one yard below their mines and blow them at the moon”
-talking about how he knows R and G are deceitful and he is saying that their plan will backfire on them
-petard: explosive
hoist with: blown up by
“But, like the owner of a foul disease, to keep it from divulging, let it feed even on the pith of life”
king spoken to the queen
-kept hidden like a disease that is wanted to be kept secret despite the hard
“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 of aught he leaves knows, what is it to leave betimes? let be
whatever will happen when it does
– since no one has knowledge of what he is leaving behind, what does an early death matter after all? not enough to struggle against it
“Hamlet denies it. who does it then? his madness. if it be so, hamlet is of faction that is wronged; his madness is poor hamlet’s enemy”
hamlet talking to Laertes
“why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric; i am justly killed with mine own treachery”
bird into trap
“I am more an antique Roman than a Dane”
horatio- he wants to die with Hamlet out of honor
“he has my dying voice”
Hamlet wants Fortinbras to be the next king
“Of carnal, cloody, and unnatural acts, of accidental judgements, casual slaughters, of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause”
“I embrace my fortune i have some rights of memory in this kingdom, which now to cliam my vantage doth invite me”
spell author

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