One the one hand, there is of course the denotative meaning, the “gist” of the
passage; this is what you might come up with if you were to paraphrase the lines and interpret
them strictly in terms of plot. But Shakespeare’s text is also rich in connotative meaning; the
So, oft it chances in particular men,
That for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As, in their birth--wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot choose his origin--
By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,
Or by some habit that too much o'er-leavens
The form of plausive manners, that these men,
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,--
Their virtues else--be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo--
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault: the dram of evil
Doth all the noble substance of a doubt
To his own scandal.
• Clear relation to Hamlet’s opening soliloquy and the “rotten” state of Denmark under Claudius
• Thematic ties – Natural defects, determined by fortune and fate, stand in opposition to reason (look at the imagery).
O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstrous that this player here, O, vengeance!
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion, Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
Could force his soul so to his own conceit That I, the son of a dear father murder'd,
That from her working all his visage wann'd, Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in's aspect, Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting words,
With forms to his conceit? and all for nothing! And fall a-cursing, like a very drab,
For Hecuba! A scullion!
What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba, Fie upon't! foh! About, my brain! I have
That he should weep for her? What would he heard
do, That guilty creatures sitting at a play
Had he the motive and the cue for passion Have by the very cunning of the scene
That I have? He would drown the stage with Been struck so to the soul that presently
tears They have proclaim'd their malefactions;
And cleave the general ear with horrid speech, For murder, though it have no tongue, will
Make mad the guilty and appal the free, speak
Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed With most miraculous organ. I'll have these
The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I, players
A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak, Play something like the murder of my father
Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause, Before mine uncle: I'll observe his looks;
And can say nothing; no, not for a king, I'll tent him to the quick: if he but blench,
Upon whose property and most dear life I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
A damn'd defeat was made. Am I a coward? May be the devil: and the devil hath power
Who calls me villain? breaks my pate across? To assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps
Plucks off my beard, and blows it in my face? Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
Tweaks me by the nose? gives me the lie i' the As he is very potent with such spirits,
throat, Abuses me to damn me: I'll have grounds
As deep as to the lungs? who does me this? More relative than this: the play 's the thing
Ha! Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.
'Swounds, I should take it: for it cannot be
But I am pigeon-liver'd and lack gall
To make oppression bitter, or ere this
I should have fatted all the region kites
With this slave's offal: bloody, bawdy villain!
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless
Hints for 2.2.577-634:
• Interrogate the opening line – Why does Hamlet call himself a slave? Slave to whom, or what? What if he is a
rogue slave? What’s the connotation? Is there a connection to free will, choice?
• Look at the “whore” simile? Why would Hamlet liken himself to a whore? Who else might be considered to be a
whore in this play? How might Hamlet be considered like them here?
• Consider how the discussion of the power and impotence of speech and words; who ‘says’ something here (2x),
and when (2x)? To whom? (2x)? What words produce an effect (action) within the context of this soliloquy, and
what words are associated with inaction? What accounts for the difference? What does this suggest about words in
relation to Prufrock’s (and Hamlet’s?) question? What’s the relationship between language and action (effect on
others) in the case of the player? In Hamlet’s case?
• Look at the kinds of birds referenced in this passage. What does effect does this implicit comparison – the
juxtaposition of bird types – have?
• Consider the possible irony of Hamlets resolution to set the “mousetrap” to ‘test’ the veracity of the Ghost’s claims
– What stance is he taking here? What system of thought does it suggest? Does this contrast with his stance when
he compares himself to the Player in any way? Is there any tension between reason and faith here?
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action…
• Some assume this is just about Hamlet contemplating suicide – the question is far more universal, yet still
particular to Hamlet’s situation!
• Explore the connotations of posing a question – contemplative, philosophical stance; how does this relate to
Hamlet’s character? What system of thought does this suggest?
• Look carefully at the diction and imagery in lines 65-68 – How do these relate to the themes expressed in “O,
what a rogue..” and “So oft it chances”?
• Trace the battle imagery throughout the passage – what parallels might exist between Hamlet’s question &
“The Myth of Sisyphus?
• Examine the contrast between references to the flesh and references to the mind (and its activities) – how do
these relate to Hamlet’s first soliloquy?
• Investigate the references to knowledge and the unknown – how do these references serve to underscore the
tension seen in “O, what a rogue…”? What’s the tension between reason, intellectual activity, and action?
Reexamine the motif of the satyr and Hyperion, especially the less-obvious connotations – can you tie this
motif to this passage? Consider the difference between “high” and “low” in terms of intellectual stance, and
consider scholasticism vs. humanism, perhaps.
O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword;
The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
The observed of all observers, quite, quite down!
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That suck'd the honey of his music vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;
That unmatch'd form and feature of blown youth
英国文学essay代写Blasted with ecstasy: O, woe is me,
To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!
How does Ophelia’s speech here recall themes and motifs – directly or indirectly – from Hamlet’s “O, what a
• Diction points to thematic tension – “soldier” & “scholar”, “tongue” & “sword” – as well as possible irony
• Explore connotations of observation, esp. as they pertain to Hamlet: what is the nature of the observer’s stance, (责任编辑：Dave)