Analysis Essay on Hamlet Quotes

Published: 2021-06-29
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Carnegie Mellon University
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In his controversial play Hamlet, Shakespeare develops various themes, which effectively contribute towards the development of the plot. Among the most important themes of the play, love/marriage is a crucial theme, through which Shakespeare effortlessly, reveals a vivid, dramatic sense of human desire. Like any other theme, Love/marriage is a theme, eminent throughout the plot and hence, various quotations derived from the play, are in support of the development of love/marriage as one of the plays central themes. Thus, this being said, the core intent of this paper is to conduct a quotation analysis study, fundamental to the theme of love/marriage.

Hamlet (Act 1; Scene 2; 161-164)

To begin with, derived from Act I; Scene 2 Hamlet says,

She married. O, most wicked speed, to post, with such dexterity to incestuous sheets! It is not, nor cant it come to good. But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue (1.2.161-164).


In this particular case, Hamlet takes an issue with his mother who had had quickly remarried after his fathers death. This quote is an illustration of how much disappointed he really was in the fact that the mother did not seemingly take the time to mourn her deceased husband, but instead, she jumps into another marriage within no time. Besides, Hamlet is disgusted by the fact that, Gertrude, his mother, married his uncle Claudius, something which he considered an act of incest. During Shakespeares time, incest was not only defined by marrying your blood relatives but was also inclusive of marrying your in-laws. Also, based on the fact that his mothers marriage was hasty, Hamlet believes that their marriage is supposed, more out of lust than love. Therefore, based on Gertrudes marriage to Claudius, to Hamlet, this was a big deal, since he believed that it was in infringement of the church laws of affinity.

Hamlet (Polonius reading; Act 2; Scene2; 116-124)

Moreover, from Poloniuss reading, Hamlet writes an affectionate letter.

To the celestial, and my soul's idol, the most beautified Ophelia. In her excellent white bosom, these, &c. Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love; O dear Ophelia! I am ill at these numbers: I have not art to reckon my groans; but that I love thee best, O most best! Believe it. Adieu. Thine evermore, most dear lady, while this machine is to him. (2; 2.116-24).


This quote is derived from Hamlets letter to Ophelia, which is read out by Polonius to Claudius and Gertrude. This, in essence, is the first insight received by the reader as soon as Shakespeare introduces the relationship between Ophelia and Hamlet. Besides, this particularly ornamented speech by Hamlet seems to be similar to the frothy speech of Osric, a character who was overly devoted to fashion and cliche (314). Therefore, this being the case, it is evident that before his mothers new and hasty marriage, Hamlet had a love perception that was close to that of Osric towards fashion. And as Laertes tells Ophelia, Hamlets love is perceived as a toy in blood [] sweet, not lasting.

Ophelia to Polonius (Act2; Scene1; 82)

[] out of hell to speak of horrors-he comes before me;" "He took me by the wrist and held me hard. Then goes he to the length of all his arm, and, with his other hand thus O'er his brow, he falls to such perusal of my face as he would draw it. Long stayed he so"


This is one of the most perplexing quotes in Shakespeares Hamlet. The kind of interaction that is described in this particular quote is his very first one, after the realization that he was to partake a mission intended to avenge his fathers death and kill Claudius. Nonetheless, Polonius interprets this as Hamlets love sickness. Besides, this particular quotation signifies Hamlets turning point from sincere love to what was in the end, considered as objectified love.

Hamlet (To Ophelia)

"Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? []Believe none of us. Go thy ways to a nunnery...If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for thy dowry [] Or, if thou wilt needs to marry, marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them.


Derived from this particular quotation, Hamlet is seen denouncing both marriage and conventional love to his very own love interest, Ophelia. As Claudius explains, Hamlets speech in this particular scene is not like the usual and expected madness, but instead, is based upon a particular thing in his soul, over which his melancholy sits on brood (146). Besides, there is an irony in Claudius observation since his hasty marriage to Gertrude, Hamlets mother is the core source of Hamlets marriage disgust and distrust in love.

Laertes to Ophelia (Act 1; Scene 3; 19-27)

[] but you must fear the safety and health of this whole state; and therefore must his choice be circumscribed Unto the voice and yielding of that body, of which he is the head (1.3.19-27)


Here, Laertes tells Ophelia that Hamlet has to marry for the safety of the entire state and is therefore, not expected to marry who he wants. Thus, with respect to Laertes quote, Shakespeare exemplifies what was expected of the wealthy and powerful people in the 16th century. During this time, the marriage of a rich person was perceived as a crucial opportunity, in which he or she would give room to forge strategic socio-political alliances.

Laertes (Act 1; Scene 3, 27-36)

[] Then if he says he loves you, it fits your wisdom so far to believe itThen weigh what loss your honor may sustain if with too credent ear you list his songs or lose your heart or your chaste treasure open to his unmastered importunity (1.3.27-36)


In this particular scene, Shakespeare portrays Laertes giving advice to Ophelia, warning her against sleeping with Hamlet, as this would make her loose her honor. Nevertheless, according to Shakespeare time, Laertes argument cannot be considered moral, concerning ethics of premarital sex. Instead, in this case, Laertes means that Ophelia would be compromising her chances of future marriage if she gave in to sleeping with Hamlet.

Hamlet (Act 5; Scene 1, 296)

"I lovd Ophelia. Forty thousand broth-/ers could not with all their quantity of love)/Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for/ her?

In this particular scene, Hamlet admits his love for Ophelia in this quotation. Besides, it is with no doubt that the reason why Hamlet uses this quote is to try and prove he indeed loved Ophelia. Despite the fact that Ophelia is already dead at this time, Hamlet feels that he is obliged to defend his love for her. Thus, for this reason, he describes his love for Ophelia as a very deep and profound kind of love, proving that his initial confessions that he did not love her, were intended to protect, other than harm her.

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