‘Mother, you have my father much offended’

Hamlet to Gertrude in reply


Uses her phrasing to play on the words - reminds

her that her hasty marriage is an offence to King


‘A bloody deed. Almost as bad, good mother,

As kill a king and marry with his brother.’

Hamlet to Gertrude 3.4

A couplet in which he tells her what he knows

about Claudius’ involvement in his father’s death.

‘O shame, where is thy blush?’ Hamlet to Gertrude 3.4

Suggests that as Gertrude doesn’t show

embarrassment, she’s party to the murder.

‘This is the very coinage of your brain’

Gertrude to Hamlet


She can’t see the Ghost and suggests that it’s all in

Hamlet’s imagination - casting doubt for the


‘I must be cruel only to be kind’ Hamlet to Gertrude 3.4

A sane comment implying fondness for his mother

and, perhaps, Ophelia?

‘… I essentially am not in madness/ But mad

in craft.’

Hamlet to Gertrude 3.4

Echoing Polonius’ earlier observation that Hamlet’s

madness is a pretence for a purpose.

‘Mad as the sea and wind’ Gertrude to Claudius 4.1 A simile to describe Hamlet’s mental state.

‘… if indeed you find him not within this

month, you shall nose him as you go up the


Hamlet to Claudius


A gross and cold joke from Hamlet about the

whereabouts of Polonius’ body.

‘The present death of Hamlet. Do it,


Claudius soliloquy 4.3

Makes it clear to the audience that Hamlet is being

sent to his death.

‘… The queen his mother/ Lives almost by

his looks,’

Claudius to Laertes 4.7

An excuse as to why he hasn’t arrested Hamlet

after the murder of Polonius.

‘… my revenge will come’ Laertes to Claudius 4.7

An ominous declaration, suggesting impending


‘… are you like the painting of a sorrow,

A face without a heart?’

Claudius to Laertes 4.7

A simile of emotional blackmail - suggesting that if

Laertes loved his father, he’d seek revenge.

‘Revenge should have no bounds’ Claudius to Laertes 4.7

An ironic statement - the finale of the play shows

‘no bounds’ but ends in tragedy.

‘Fell in the weeping brook…

Drowned, drowned’

Gertrude to Laertes 4.7 Telling of Ophelia’s fate.
‘Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio’ Hamlet to Horatio 5.1

Hamlet famously musing about physical and moral