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Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 4

November 13, 2010

Crissy and I had the pleasure of seeing Hamlet at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre last night.  It took me back to when I studied it in High School, which I really enjoyed.  But anyway, there were several quotes that struck me that I hadn’t noticed before.  Especially this passage from Act 4, Scene 4 (I especially like the part in the beginning that starts: What is a man…”:

How all occasions do inform against me,And spur my dull revenge! What is a man, If his chief good and market of his time Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more. Sure He that made us with such large discourse, Looking before and after, gave us not That capability and godlike reason To fust in us unus’d. Now whether it be Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple Of thinking too precisely on th’ event—A thought which quarter’d hath but one part wisdom And ever three parts coward—I do not know Why yet I live to say, “This thing’s to do,” Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means To do’t. Examples gross as earth exhort me: Witness this army of such mass and charge, Led by a delicate and tender prince, Whose spirit with divine ambition puff’d Makes mouths at the invisible event, Exposing what is mortal and unsure To all that fortune, death, and danger dare, Even for an egg-shell. Rightly to be grea tIs not to stir without great argument, But greatly to find quarrel in a straw When honor’s at the stake. How stand I then, That have a father kill’d, a mother stain’d, Excitements of my reason and my blood, And let all sleep, while to my shame I see The imminent death of twenty thousand men, That for a fantasy and trick of fame Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause, Which is not tomb enough and continent To hide the slain? O, from this time forth, My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!

I’m still trying to process this, but I though I would share.

 

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