Quotation Who said it to whom Act / Scene What it tells the audience
‘… valiant Hamlet’ Horatio about King Hamlet 1.1 King Hamlet was brave (left a great deal for his son to live up to). He was well respected by his people.
‘… the sheeted dead’

Horatio recalls omens that

preceded Caesar’s death


Sets up the idea that disasters lie ahead following

the sight of the Ghost.

‘… the morn, in russet mantle clad’ Horatio as the sun rises 1.1 Beautiful personification/imagery of the sunrise.
‘…our dear brother’s death The memory be green…’ Claudius to court 1.1 Irony of ‘dear’ – as he’s his brother’s killer. Acknowledges the death was recent.

‘A little more than kin, and less than kind’

Hamlet aside about Claudius


Uses puns to show that he’s unhappy with Claudius being so closely related now he’s wed Gertrude.

First words from Hamlet – tells audience he’s witty, clever and not a fan of Claudius!

‘… my inky cloak’ Hamlet about his sadness 1.1

A metaphor to show how miserable Hamlet is as he

grieves for his father.

‘… ’tis unmanly grief’

Claudius to Hamlet


Claudius suggests that Hamlet’s grieving is excessive. Shows Claudius’ evil nature as it is he

who has caused Hamlet’s grief.

‘O, that this too too solid flesh would melt’

Hamlet’s first soliloquy


Considers suicide – won’t because it’s against God’s law. Blank verse shows status and soliloquy reveals honest emotions.
‘Hyperion to a satyr’ ditto 1.2

Describes father as sun God and Claudius as a satyr

(lecherous men / goat creatures).

‘… frailty, thy name is woman’



Condemns all women for being weak – based on his mother’s too speedy marriage – first evidence of

misogynous tendencies?

‘O, most wicked speed’ ditto 1.2

Hamlet’s fury at how quickly his mother re-


‘… incestuous sheets’ ditto 1.2 Sees the marriage as immoral – like incest.

‘But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue’



Genuine grief – we feel sympathy for Hamlet – wants to try and contain his disapproval.
‘… All is not well. / I doubt some foul play’ Hamlet on own 1.2 He believes that his father’s ghost is a sign that his death was suspicious.